Kenya Power gets Sh6bn to connect more customers 

Kenya Power

A Kenya Power technician at work.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Latest phase of Last Mile project is expected to connect about 300,000 customers.
  • Project seeks to extend low voltage system throughout the country.

The government has raised the allocation for subsidised connection of homes to the national grid by Sh1.48 billion in the year starting July, raising hope for thousands of households yet to get power supplies.

The latest expenditure plans by the National Treasury show that Sh5.8 billion has been allocated for the Last Mile Connectivity Project (LMCP) — marking a 34.36 per cent jump from the Sh4.31 billion that was approved for the programme in the current financial year.

Of the Sh5.8 budget, the government of Kenya will provide Sh 800million while the rest will be funded through foreign sources.

The LMCP is an eight-and-a-half-year project set to cost Sh77.6 billion. The project is part of the State’s efforts to promote a 24-hour economy, boost security and bring more public facilities into the national grid.

Development financiers are committing Sh50 billion while the remainder is being provided by the government.

Budget cuts and shortage of poles have, however, hampered the programme with the country missing its target for the past three years.

The project aims at extending the low voltage system throughout the country so that counties with low electricity penetration rates benefit the most. The latest phase of the project is expected to connect about 300,000 customers, pushing the households with access to electricity to about 1.5 million.

Kenya Power, in its financial report for 2020/21, showed it recorded a five per cent growth in electricity from 8,171 giga watt hours (GWh) to 8,571, which was partly driven by 716,206 new customers connections, including those connected to the grid through the LMCP. All customer segments recorded growth, with commercial and industrial growing by 4.8 per cent, the small commercial by 5.1 per cent, domestic customers by 4.9 per cent, and street-lighting by 10.2 per cent.

In his Budget Policy Statement for the 2021/22 financial year, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani indicated that the State plans to connect 2.4 million households to subsidised power in the year starting last July as part of efforts to edge closer to the ambitious goal of universal electricity access.

Apart from the LMCP funding for the new financial year, the State has also doubled its budgetary allocation for connecting homes to subsidised power starting July. The Treasury has allocated Sh100 million for electricity subsidies, up from Sh50 million that had been approved in the current financial year.

The scheme has seen power consumers get connected at a subsidised rate of Sh15,000, depending on their proximity to power lines and transformers, down from Sh35,000.