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No respite for Kenyans, as power cost rises

By Peter Kahare - 04 Aug 2011 17:0:0 GMT
No respite for Kenyans, as power cost rises

NAIROBI - (ET) There is no respite ahead for Kenyans as cost of electricity supply is set to steadily rise for the next three months due to low rainfall.

Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KENGEN) Managing director Eddy Njoroge said Thursday that between now and October, Kenyans should expect to pay higher prices for electricity as power will be generated from fuel. Kenya heavily relies on thermal power that is affected by weather.

Njoroge says his company has been forced to produce electricity from fuel due to the low water levels at the country's dams which produce hydro electric power.

"When we use thermo generation then the cost of power has to go up," said Njoroge.

The director who spoke at Embakasi estate in Nairobi however said his company has been under pressure to ensure there is electricity. "A lot of Kenyans have told us that they would rather have expensive power than no power at all," Njoroge said.

Currently, the cost of fuel on the power bill stands at 46 percent of the total bill that a consumer pays Kenya Power. However, the country is set to increase generation of power from thermo sources.

Njoroge also says the emergency power unit at Mhoroni which will produce 60 megawatts is expected to start operations by the end of this month, while two turbines being installed in Embakasi are expected to be operational by 25th of this month and they will produce 60 megawatts.

"These will go a long way in stabilizing the power in the country" he said.

Njoroge stated that geothermal production should be fast tracked to maintain low power bill in future.

He said geothermal production will help the country's boost its power production while at the same time ensuring low power cost to consumers.

"Currently, Geothermal Development Company does not have any installed capacity yet. They have gone to Menengai drilled some wells, they are hoping we will put generators there," Njoroge said.

KenGen has 200MW installed capacity at its geothermal plants in Olkaria 100 kilometers North East of Nairobi.

"In total we have 200 MW. At Olkaria One, we have three units each producing 15 MW. At Olkaria Two, we are doing 105 MW," said the KenGen MD.

Top Image Credit: Rjosh