KPLC defends rationing programme

August 11, 2009 12:00 am
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 11 – The Kenya Power and Lighting Company on Monday defended its recent decision to scale up the number of days for power rationing in Nairobi, owing to the high energy demand in the city.

KPLC’s Deputy Communications Manager Migwi Theuri told Capital Business that the previous schedule had proved ineffective.

“In the previous load management system, there was no adequate power to go round, that is why we had to scale it up so that it could ease the strain on the national grid,” Mr Theuri said.

He said the new schedule would go a long way in preserving the little water there is so as to have adequate power during the night when the load is more.

Another challenge for the capital city is that power supply is coming from far-off generation stations. Mr Theuri said the long distance caused voltage losses.

“In those other regions the demand is not that high and they still have stations that can support their energy demands effectively,” he explained.

Mr Theuri however said there could be further power disruption if and when there is systems failure or regular maintenance.

“Rationing is different from deliberate switching of lines when we are doing maintenance of which we issue adequate notice. It is also different from unforeseen breakdown of generation machines or when a transformer blows,” he said.

Another challenge for the capital city is that power supply is coming from far of generation stations; Mr Theuri said the long distance causes the voltage to drop hence the need for power rationing.

“In those other regions the demand is not that high and they have still have stations that can support their energy demands to some extent,” he said.

Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi had previously announced a two-day power rationing schedule which was widely condemned for being ineffective.

Mr Theuri was however adamant that Kenyans ought to be cautious in the way they use electricity. He called on consumers to minimise their power usage as much as possible by switching off electrical appliances when not in use.
 
He expressed confidence that the new rationing program would work effectively and called on Kenyans to report any unscheduled black out.

In the new scheme Nairobi is divided into two sections, down from the three that had been earlier announced.

Areas that fall into Zone A will be without power on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, while those in zone B Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, leaving Sunday as the only full day with power.

Security installations, hospitals, and industrial areas are also expected to be skipped by power rationing.

The power rationing program has however elicited mixed reactions from a cross section of Kenyans. The business community has termed the move as retrogressive in terms of economic growth.

Players in the manufacturing industry have been calling for “voluntary power rationing” where companies offer to have their electricity cut off at hours that are convenient to them.

They say for example, if a firm embarked on an energy conservation program where it would switch off lights and machines that are not in use, it could save up to 30 percent on the energy consumed.

With the increased use of fuel for power generation, electricity bills are also set to go up owing to the fuel adjustment cost.

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