What you need to know:
- It is also encouraging to hear that Kenya Power is taking measures to tackle the challenges and sustain access to electricity in the rural outposts.
Tremendous success has been made in increasing access to electricity for Kenyans.
The Rural Electrification Programme, or the Last Mile Connectivity Project, has enabled many subsidised connections in rural and peri-urban areas.
According to Kenya Power, access to electricity, both grid and off-grid, is at nearly 70 per cent. That’s a huge growth from 29 per cent five years ago.
This has resulted in a surge in the number of consumers. The challenge now is keeping these subsidised connections running.
There are mounting complaints about frequent blackouts that take days or weeks or even months to rectify.
Though in the last decade commendable progress has been made, the universal connectivity target is quickly slipping away.
Half-way through the year, it is highly unlikely that this will be achieved in 2020. A major donor to the energy sector, the World Bank, believes that this will only be achievable by 2030.
The situation is likely to worsen: Kenya Power has raised the alarm over the “slow business” in rural areas as the government continues to connect more villages.
This may be a huge burden to the power utility, but availability of electricity has been a game changer in rural areas, powering cottage industries and other small-scale businesses, which have improved the well-being of rural folk.
Welding sheds, barbershops and beauty salons are enterprises that create many jobs in the rural areas.
Part of the solution is increasingly tapping solar power. The government, with funding from the World Bank, is to electrify 1.3 million households in 14 counties.
It is also encouraging to hear that Kenya Power is taking measures to tackle the challenges and sustain access to electricity in the rural outposts.
All the possible solutions should be explored and effected.