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More days without power for Kenyans

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 7 – Nairobi residents will face more days of power blackouts following an initial decision by the Kenya Power and Lighting (KPLC) to ration power two days a week.

Capital News learnt on Friday that the company would impose rationing for up to three days a week for the city residents.

However, those living in Mt Kenya and Western Kenya areas will go without power for two days as earlier planned.

The power distributor said it would release a detailed schedule over the weekend.

A number of residents we spoke to expressed their disappointment at the latest development and blamed it on poor planning.

On the same breath, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) faulted the rationing of power for industries saying this move would not work.

KAM Chairman Vimal Shah instead called for ‘voluntary power rationing’ where firms can offer to have their electricity cut off at hours that are convenient to them.

“An industry can now say, within a month, we consume this much (but) we will now take 20 percent reduction and we will conserve power, we will save on various things and overall we will have a system that is balanced,” he explained adding that they would seek audience with the government to sell  this proposal to them.

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While acknowledging that the government was not to blame for power outages, he said it should be at the front line in trying to encourage conservation of energy as well as the environment, which he observed is the cause of all these problems.

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

Mr Shah also pointed out that although it everybody’s (manufacturers) costs which would be impacted, it was still too early to tell the total impact this recent move would have on the overall economy.

There has been speculation that the implementation of this program would further make it hard for the country to achieve this year’s projected economic growth rate of three percent.

Haco Industries Managing Director Polycarp Igathe however warned that should some industrial zones be affected by the program, then there was a high likelihood that some job losses could be recorded.

Mr Igathe added that they expected a drop in demand for some of their products since their clients, including salons in the residential areas would be impacted by the blackouts.

“We are almost coming out of a recession and so this has given us a cog in the wheel but we cannot give up hope. We just need to hang in there and do the best that we can,” he said while concurring with Mr Shah that better management of the environment would be the best long term solution for the country to take.

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