Energy PS wants more linked to the power grid

Energy PS Patrick Nyoike (left) points on a map during the commissioning on June 21, 2010. With him is European Investment Bank vice president responsible for Africa Plutarcho Sakelleris and managing director KPLC Joseph Njoroge. Photo/LIZ MUTHONI

Kenya’s connectivity to electricity is only 25 per cent of the national population which is far below the standards of a developing country.

According to Ministry of Energy permanent secretary Patrick Nyoike, more investments are still needed in the sector to bring the country at par with its peers.

“The average connectivity rate for a developing country like ours should be between 30 and 35 per cent of the population. We, therefore, need to expand by investing more in the sector,” said Mr Nyoike.

Already, the country is undergoing an expansion programme in the energy sector mainly aimed at increasing those connected to the national grid.

Several donor countries and organisations are offering support to this initiative.

The PS spoke on Monday during the commissioning of Kenya Power and Lighting Company 450 Kilometres fibre optic cable linking Nairobi to Mombasa.

The cable, which is partly leased to some telecommunication companies, will see the power distributor improve communication between its control centres.

As a result, the listed power distribution firm hopes to increase its revenue streams as well as keep an efficient communication for its service delivery.

In tune

The European Investment Bank under the Energy Sector Recovery Project (ESRP) financed the project.

“This project was included in the ESRP to be in tune with the changing technology to meet the fast-growing electricity network. This will now provide us with a critical resource in monitoring the electrical energy supplied to customers,” said Mr Joseph Njoroge, managing director KPLC.

The fibre optic cable installation is a Sh1.9 billion system control and data acquisition mode of operation.

It is used for the effective and efficient management of operations of KPLC’s nationwide power transmission and distribution grid.

Safaricom, Jamii Telecommunications, Wananchi Group and Kenya Data Networks are some of the firms which have leased part of the cable.

It is expected that more companies will come on board owing to the line’s reliability and safety from vandalism.

“Out of the 24 pairs of fibres in the cable, we will only utilise six pairs of fibre for operations data and speech communications on a day-to-day basis,” said Mr Njoroge.