, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 27 – A summit on electricity generation, accessibility and reliability was held at State House Nairobi on Wednesday in the first ever forum of its kind.
The forum dubbed the #StateHouseSummit and attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta in part was aimed at promoting engagement between policy makers and consumers in an effort to keep the former accountable to the latter.
The forum therefore brought together those with a hand in the electricity supply chain – Kenya Power, the Rural Electrification Authority, Kenya Electricity Transmission Company – and consumers who ranged from the jua kali sector to their bigger private sector counterparts.
Domestic electricity consumers were given the opportunity to participate in the event through Twitter using the aforementioned hashtag and #PoweringFreedom and represented by among others blogger Robert Alai.
The Ministry of Energy sought to highlight the Jubilee Administration’s accomplishments on the electricity front in the last three years touting the more than two fold increase in the number of households connected to the electricity grid and the connection of over 22,000 primary schools to the grid.
“We’ve connected as I’m talking 22,242 primary schools,” Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said.
He together with his team were however taken to task over the high cost of connecting to the grid despite an announcement by President Uhuru Kenyatta in May of 2015 that it would cost Sh15,000 for households located within 600 metres of a transformer to be connected to the grid.
“@UKenyatta is far from reality. We are still receiving quotations of up to 975k when the transformer is 47mtrs away.” @EngWanyonyi tweeted.
— Engineer Wanyonyi (@EngWanyonyi) July 27, 2016
Manufacturers also came under fire for failing to transfer the benefits of industrial power price cuts to the consumer as did contractors from President Kenyatta for seeking to fill their coffers at the expense of the common man.
“We must ask ourselves, are we also negotiating with our independent power producers in a transparent manner because I believe there has been a lot of cloud resulting in us signing agreements that have cost this country heavily,” he said.
He also advised Kenya Power and other stakeholders against abusing their monopoly. “That’s a challenge the entities here should address themselves to. That’s why people are saying you need competition because they believe you’re not running your institutions in the most cost-effective manner and transferring all the benefits to the consumer.”
Even so he expressed optimism that the last mile connectivity project would benefit the youth by way of employment.
The #StateHouseSummit was an initiative of the Presidency’s communications and delivery units with the hope of making the event a regular affair.