Cheaper power on the way on reduced thermal, hydro dependence

November 7, 2016
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In the last one year, Kenya Power connected 1.25 million new customers bringing the total number of customers to around 5 million, a 30 percent growth. FILE
In the last one year, Kenya Power connected 1.25 million new customers bringing the total number of customers to around 5 million, a 30 percent growth. FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 7 – Kenyans will pay less for power in the coming months as more efficient and cost-effective sources come to the grid to replace thermal and hydroelectric sources.

Kenya Power has said the company reduced the amount of thermal power dispatched to customers in the year 2015/2016, both in terms of installed and distribution capacity.

The electricity distributor ceased sourcing power from the expensive 30MW Muhorini diesel-generated power in 2015 as the relatively cheaper geothermal power from Olkaria expands to Western Kenya.

According to Peter Mungai, General Manager, Business Strategy at Kenya Power, thermal power now contributes 11 percent of total electricity, nearly 60 percent drop in five years.

“Because of the good energy mix, the cost of power has gone down. The price per unit has come down from Sh7.2 in 2014 to the current figure of Sh2.3 per unit,” said Mungai, at an investor briefing.

Geothermal power has grown four-fold in five years, now contributing the biggest share in the energy mix at 4,608 GWh replacing Hydro at 3,787 GWh.

“The percentage of usage of thermal will continue to go down and this is because we are continuing to bring other cheaper sources of energy like geothermal, solar and wind.”

For example, Lake Turkana Wind Power, though having faced some land acquisition headwinds, is expected to come online and eventually supply 310MW to the national grid – 20 percent of the current installed electricity generating capacity.

In the last one year, Kenya Power connected 1.25 million new customers bringing the total number of customers to around 5 million, a 30 percent growth in the last three years.

As a result, domestic customers contributed the highest growth in the 2015/16 as total revenues grew from Sh106 billion to Sh108 billion

READ: Kenya Power makes Sh7.5bn on improved sales

The length of the network has grown in tandem with the growing distribution capacity. High tension lines have been extended by 4,200 km while low voltage lines have increased by 4,700 kilometres.

In additional to the power distribution lines, Kenya Power has spent capex on 57 new and upgrades substations to handle the growing demand.

However, system efficiency has dropped significantly from a high of 82.60 percent in 2012 to 80.50 percent in 2015 as a result of the expanded network.

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