City line shift to cost Kenya Power Sh1bn

Kenya Power live team on Waiyaki Way on September 24, 2020. The utility firm has started relocating power lines between Mlolongo, Mombasa Road and James Gichuru Road to pave the way for constructing the 27.1-kilometre-long Nairobi Expressway that will cost Sh1.08 billion.

Photo credit: Diana Ngila | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The firm has a combined 106 kilometres of high voltage (66kV), medium voltage (11kV), and low voltage cables between the affected area.
  • The firm has already put underground close to 600 kilometres of its network in Nairobi and other major towns as part of a Sh13 billion plan for Nairobi network improvement.

Kenya Power will spend Sh1.08 billion to relocate its electricity lines along the section between Mlolongo on Mombasa road and James Gichuru road to pave the way for-set up of the Nairobi Expressway.

The budget for the project to be completed before December means the power distributor will spend at least Sh10 million for every kilometre of power line moved along the 27.1 kilometre stretch.

The firm has a combined 106 kilometres of high voltage (66kV), medium voltage (11kV), and low voltage cables between the affected area.

The bill, which will be footed by the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), will also entail relocation of 28 transformers serving the area where no substation will be affected.

Kenya Power Managing Director Bernard Ngugi on Thursday said the utility firm had already relocated 17 kilometres of its power lines as part of the three-month exercise that will see 40.6 kilometres of the network buried to minimise interferences.

Expressway corridor

“Some of our customers within the estates along the expressway corridor will experience interruptions in power supply. However, the company is planning to minimise power interruptions by leveraging the live line maintenance technology, which relocates most of the lines without switching off supply,” Mr Ngugi said.

The exercise, which commenced earlier this month, will see 60 Kenya Power staff deployed along the stretch where another team from four external underground cabling contractors will be engaged. Kenya Power will also use the opportunity to bury its high voltage power lines to protect them from vandals in search of copper.

The firm has already put underground close to 600 kilometres of its network in Nairobi and other major towns as part of a Sh13 billion plan for Nairobi network improvement.

Yesterday, the Kenya Power board of directors chaired by Mahboub Maalim visited a section of the highway where the relocation exercise is already underway. He said the company was committed to ensuring the lines are removed within the timeline and with least interruption of supply.

Before end of November

“We’ll spend about Sh1 billion to relocate the lines and allow for the construction of the Expressway. The progress is good and we are optimistic it will be done before the end of November as per the deadline,” Mr Maalim said.

The Sh1 billion budget underlines the cost burden linked to relocation of infrastructure among government agencies clashing on wayleaves due to change of infrastructure planning with delayed removal of data cables, water pipes and power lines sometimes pushing back project timelines.

KenHA is expected to oversee the construction of the Sh59 billion double-decker expressway by China Roads and Bridges Corporation and later find a private firm to operate the road and charge motorists for 27 years.

edokoth@ke.nationmedia.com