Low water levels to push power bills up

Tuesday March 31 2009

By NATION Correspondents

Power bills are likely to go up following reduced water levels in the power plants.

Energy Regulatory Commission boss Kaburu Mwirichia hinted that the bills would go up if the drought persisted. “If the long rains that usually start in March fail, then power tariffs will be adjusted upwards,” Mr Mwirichia said.

He was addressing a workshop for small-scale hydro-electric power producers in Central Province at a Karatina hotel.

Mr Mwirichia spoke as weather experts sent out an alert that Central Province might not get enough rains.

The region will experience depressed rains in the coming season expected between March and May, the provincial director of meteorological services, Mr Francis Nguatah, said in this monthly update.

The deficit, he said, would be felt most in the water catchments areas, which could compromise the recharging of the hydro-power dams and affect their operations.

“The outlook for long rains, March-May 2009 season, indicates that most parts of the province like Kiambu, Nyeri, Murang’a, Thika and Nyandarua are likely to experience deficient rainfall, except for the highlands which are likely to observe normal rainfall,” the bulletin said.

The department warned that arid and semi-arid areas like Kieni West Division of Nyeri North District could experience sporadic storms.

Threatened

Most parts of the province experienced sunny and dry conditions and slightly higher than average daytime temperatures in January and February.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga at the weekend warned that the country’s major water towers such as Mau, Cherangani, Mt Kenya and Mt Elgon were threatened by human activities.

Central, Eastern and Rift Valley provincial administrators are scheduled to meet this week and discuss ways of preventing fighting among pastoralist communities over water resources.