Kenya Power’s system losses hit record high

Kenya Power

A Kenya Power technician at work.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Kenya Power system losses hit a historic high last year driven by increased power transmission and distribution and power theft which equals 22.8 per cent of the total electricity supplied during the period.

The Economic Survey 2022 released on Thursday by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows transmission and distribution losses hit 2,831 gigawatt-hours (GWh) last year up 1.4 percent from 2,790GWh in the previous year adding to consumers’ pain of higher electricity costs.

System losses are the difference between the total amount of energy bought by Kenya Power and that which it sells to customers.

The losses came as the total domestic demand for electricity rose by 8.7 percent to 9,565.4GWh in 2021 up from 8,796.4GWh in the previous year supported by the reopening of the economy from Covid-19 restrictions which led to a resumption in key economic activities such as manufacturing.

“Transmission and distributive losses amounted to 2,831GWh, accounting for 23.3 percent of total domestic generation in 2021,” said KNBS.

The system losses are costly to consumers as they are passed on to them in higher power prices at a time electricity prices are already high owing to the high cost of diesel that is used to generate thermal power.

This comes as Kenya Power has embarked on an expansion spree of its network over the past nine years since the Jubilee administration came to power in March 2013 to connect more customers to the grid with the expanded power distribution network contributing to the rising system losses.

The industry regulator, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) allows the Company to recover from consumers’ system losses up to a limit of 19.9 percent.

Kenya Power estimates that for each one percent system loss, it incurs a loss of about Sh800 million translating to about Sh3.2 billion in system losses it shouldered in its financial year that ended in June last year underlining the burden of the losses to both the firm and consumers.

The firm has instituted reforms to minimise the losses including the installation of smart meters and the rollout of regional, county, and transformer metering.

“These projects will enable identification of high loss feeders to enable targeted remedial action,” said the firm in its annual report.

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