Big consumers set to benefit in Kenya Power network upgrade

Electricity distributor Kenya Power is targetting better power supply to industrial consumers in its network upgrade programme.

The upgrade will target those that contribute up to 60 per cent of its revenue in an ongoing network upgrade valued at Sh119 billion.

Dubbed the Boresha Umeme power upgrade, the initiative involves maintenance of the existing network, including upgrading of substations, conductors, replacement of rotten wooden poles with concrete and vegetation management along the power line networks.

The power distributor is also constructing alternative feeders to industries to make the network flexible and eliminate the need for shutdown during maintenance as customers enjoy multiple sources of supply. This will ensure the production processes are not interrupted, thus mitigating losses for manufacturers.

The latest report by the International Energy Agency titled Africa Energy Outlook 2014 shows that Kenyan homes and industries experience at least 600 hours of outages per annum compared to 120 hours or five days per year in South Africa.

Acting managing director Kenneth Tarus said the firm is implementing 252 projects across the country to enhance the power distribution network to serve growing numbers of customers, increased system efficiency, minimize losses and improve on reliability of supply.

‘’Improved quality of power supply to industrial customers will eliminate the need for manufacturers to invest in alternative forms of energy whose extra cost is borne by consumers of their products,’’ said Tarus.

He explained the electricity distribution network are some of the crucial systems to the country’s economy whose functioning has a direct bearing on the quality of power sold to consumers.

They will partner with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers in this venture and to sensitize technical personnel within industries on how to resolve internal challenges that could be undermining quality of electricity supply.

The power firm has already spent Sh3 billion to reinforce its network in various parts of the country, including Webuye, Siaya, Bondo, Eldama Ravine, Marigat, Malindi, Kabarnet, Nyeri and Nakuru.

In March, the firm commissioned a 33kV line from Mtwapa to Kanamai through Kikambala. This new line is expected to offer alternative supply to industries in these areas and boost the existing capacity for supply. It is also installing new power stations in the larger coastal region to be completed before end of this financial year.

In the last financial year, the firm added a total of 51 substations and 4,209 kilometres of new high and medium voltage power lines to its network, binging the the total length of the medium voltage network in the country to 61,536 kilometres.

Other substations earmarked for completion by the end of this financial year include Webuye 132/33kV, Muhoroni 132/33kV and Kitale 33/11kV.

Their completion will enhance capacity in Western Kenya and improve the stability of the distribution system in the area.

Industrial customers and households around Athi River and Dagoretti are also expected to benefit from 220/66kV and 66/11kV substation srespectively

‘’We expect to resolve challenges of supply as regards quality and reliability, hence live to our vision of providing world class power that delights our customers,’’ said Tarus.

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