Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) has contracted 11 companies to implement the Last Mile Connectivity project that will cut the cost of electricity connections to homes.
In the next 18 months, during which the project will be rolled out, people living within a radius of 600 metres from a transformer will be hooked to the national grid at a cost of Sh15,000.
Consumers will have the option of paying the fee upfront or in 36 instalments that will be recovered through the monthly electricity bills.
Ten of the contractors will be connecting customers, while one will be providing the prepaid meters. The list of contractors includes six local and five foreign companies.
The first phase of the project targets to connect 314,000 households to electricity. It is estimated that each household represents 5.5 people, which translates into 1.7 million people who will have access to electricity.
SHORT TERM TARGET
“A total of 5,320 existing transformers will be utilised to the maximum through extension of low voltage network, which entails construction of 12,000 kilometres of low voltage distribution lines,” said KPLC boss Ben Chumo.
The country’s access to power currently stands at 51 per cent. The government has set a short-term target to raise this to 70 per cent by the end of 2017 and attain universal access by 2020.
The project is funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to the tune of Sh15.3 billion. Contracts awarded to the foreign companies account for 51.5 per cent of the total cost of the project at Sh7.9 billion.
ACCESS TO ENERGY
The initial cost of connection, currently as high as Sh100,000 for single phase meters, commonly used in homes.
This is compounded by difficulties in acquiring way leaves that has delayed the construction of transmission lines to ease the distribution of electricity.
The Last Mile Connectivity project was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in May to scale up access to energy.
Negotiations for a Sh15.3 billion loan from the AfDB to finance the second phase of the project have been completed and is awaiting approval from the bank’s board.