Upgrades slice power losses by 9 per cent

Wednesday December 31 2014

Kenya Power workers fix power transmission poles and lines in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County on December 5, 2014.

Kenya Power workers fix power transmission poles and lines in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County on December 5, 2014. The KNBS said the utility firm reduced losses by 9 per cent between October and November. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By IMMACULATE KARAMBU
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Power losses declined by 9 per cent between October and November according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Kenya Power attributed the drop to investment in a countrywide upgrade of electricity distribution infrastructure which it hopes will cut the annual loss from the current 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent by the end of 2016.

REINFORCEMENT

“The drop in system losses is a cumulative development resulting from the reinforcement of the network that we have been undertaking which included construction of new substations and associated power lines to reduce outages and improve the flexibility of the network,” Kenya Power managing director Ben Chumo said in a telephone interview.

Power loss refers to the amount of energy wasted in transmission process and is calculated by getting the difference between the amount of electricity generated and what is sold to customers.

POWER LOSSES

According to the Leading Economic Indicators report for November prepared by KNBS, power losses in November totalled 95.20 million units of electricity, having dropped from 105.01 million units last October.

According to industry estimates, one per cent system loss translates into Sh1 billion losses in annual revenue for the utility firm. The acceptable level of system loss varies with the size of a country’s network.

The KNBS report also shows that the total amount of electricity consumed by domestic customers dropped to 666.68 million units in November from 684.10 million units in October.

Hydro-generation increased during the period under review to 307.25 million units in November while generation by geothermal and thermal generators reduced to 322.17 and 121.53 million units respectively during the month.

NEW POWER LINES

In November, Kenya Power announced a Sh2 billion budget for the current financial year to fund the system upgrade that will see installation of new substations and power lines.

Construction of 29 new stations funded through a loan from the World Bank is set to be completed by the end of June this year.

Kenya Power recently awarded a tender for construction of an additional 36 substations at a cost of Sh8.2 billion sourced from local banks.