Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kenya Power’s ‘Stima loan’ in Sh3bn boost

PHOTO | DIANA NGILA Kenya Power signage at Electricity House.

PHOTO | DIANA NGILA Kenya Power signage at Electricity House.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By FRANCIS MUREITHI [email protected]

Kenya Power hopes to connect electricity to more Kenyan homes after it received an additional Sh3 billion loan from the French lending agency, Agence de Fracaise de Development (AfD).

A senior marketing officer at Kenya Power, Ms Grace Omwenga, told the Sunday Nation that the company was targeting to connect more than 300,000 new customers in the next five years.

“Following the approval of the funding by AfD we are now set to roll out more connections countrywide as the number of people applying for the Stima loans has increased tremendously in the last two years,” said Ms Omwenga on the sidelines of the first Kenya Power Open Day in Nakuru town on Friday.

AfD advanced Kenya Power Sh450 million in June 2010 under the ‘Stima loan’ project which has enabled the company to connect 28,000 Kenyans to the national grid as at August this year.

Access electricity

Funds under the project, started to enable the poor access electricity, are disbursed directly from Kenya Power or through Equity and the National Bank of Kenya.

Applicants are advanced between Sh35,000 and Sh100,000 repayable in instalments over 24 months. At least 1,500 applications are received every month, which has seen the company’s customer base increase to 2.1 million.

In Central Rift Valley Region alone more than Sh54million was allocated for the project.

According to the regional manager Mr Gerald Othieno more than 2,000 customers have benefited from the loan scheme as at July 2012.

“We now have enough funds and Kenyans should not leave in darkness again as we have simplified the loan system,” said Mr Othieno.

However, the revolving fund was facing challenges including slow repayments and vandalism.