Land disputes delay power lines project

Monday February 8 2016

Workers fix power transmission poles. Data by the Energy Regulatory Commission show that the demand for electricity in the country hit a record high last year. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Workers fix power transmission poles. Data by the Energy Regulatory Commission show that the demand for electricity in the country hit a record high last year. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By EDWIN OKOTH
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More than 1,500 kilometres of high voltage power transmission lines are stuck with wayleaves standing in the way for power evacuation.

The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company also faces budgetary constraints and vandalism of its facilities, further complicating its plan to complete 5,000 kilometres of high voltage transmission lines by 2018.

Ketraco acting Managing Director Fernandes Barasa said the firm had already requested Sh19 billion in the next financial year to complete its crucial projects and power more regions in the country.

“We are keen in prioritising which areas have been previously off grid to see new ones receive the crucial energy requirement to spur growth. We are also strengthening the existing lines as more people and industries are connected to power so that we have stability in supply. Kenya still has a large potential to consume electricity and the industrial growth dividend is yet to be realised,” said Mr Barasa.

Some of Ketraco’s projects hampered by wayleave constraints include the 483-kilometre line between Mombasa and Nairobi.

Landowners in Embakasi, Nairobi, are said to be standing in the way of the 270 kilovolts line, as well as the Nairobi metropolitan ring line carrying 404 kilovolts.

The L400KV line between Suswa and Isinya, which forms part of the Nairobi Metropolitan project, is also held in land-related obstacles as the firm strives to move power from generation stations.