Masinga Dam PHOTO:COURTESY
Kenyans face increased power costs because water levels in a dam critical to the generation of electricity are too low.
As a result, the electricity generating station at Masinga Dam, on the border of Embu and Machakos counties, may be shut down in the coming weeks because there is not enough water.
The Ministry of Energy says water levels in the dam are too low to allow the continued generation of electricity at the station unless it starts raining soon.
The Meteorological Department recently said the expected rains may not bring any reprieve after the prolonged drought that has hit many parts of the country.
Shutting down the station may mean Kenyans will pay much more for electricity as the country increases its dependence on power generated using diesel-powered thermal plants.
Power costs have already gone up after the short rains of October-December failed. The extra costs have been passed on to consumers.
Energy Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge said the dam, the main reservoir for the Seven Forks hydroelectricity system, is fast getting to its minimum operating levels.
When this happens, the Masinga power station will be switched off and the water released to feed the other power stations downstream including Kamburu, Gitaru and Kiambere.
Mr Njoroge was however optimistic that the rains would salvage the now dire situation.
“The water levels are not good, especially in the Tana River catchment (area), and are just about to get to minimum operating level.
Masinga itself may not generate but the stations downstream will continue generating. We are hopeful in the next three or so weeks, we will have rain. If we get rain, we will not see disruptions but if we don’t, then there will be some disruptions,” said Njoroge.