BELOW TARGET

Power demand growth drops by 2.4% as prices increase

In 2018 that demand for electricity was estimated to grow by nine per cent a year until 2021

In Summary

• Consumption of electricity has been declining since 2014 to 2.4 per cent in 2018 against GDP growth of 6.3 per cent, data by Kenya Power and Lighting Company has shown.

Kenya Power engineers carry out maintenance work at a power Sub station in Mombasa. /FILE
Kenya Power engineers carry out maintenance work at a power Sub station in Mombasa. /FILE

Consumption of electricity has been declining since 2014 to 2.4 per cent in 2018 despite a GDP growth of 6.3 per cent, data by according to  data from Kenya Power.

The data shows  the company sold 7,905 units of Gigawatts hours (Gwh) in 2018.

In 2014, the corporation sold units worth 6,790 Gwh, representing a 10.0 percentage growth against economic growth of 5.4 per cent in the year.

 

The growth in units sold has been taking a downward slope since then declining to 5.0 per cent, 3.6 per cent, and 4.5 per cent in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.

This means that the demand has fallen below the ministry' target despite increased hydro, wind, solar and thermal power production in the country.

As at June 2018, the Ministry of Energy reported an electricity capacity of 2,651 MegaWatts (MW) with a peak demand of 1,802 MW.

At that time, the ministry estimated demand to rise at a rate of 3.6 per cent annually, compared to a peak demand of 1,770 MW which was experienced at the beginning of 2018.

However, the uptake has been a headache to the monopoly state distributor.

During the debate on newly passed Energy Act 2019 in June, KPLC admitted that demand growth had not matched the predicted amount five years ago.

It had projected uptake to correspond to 10 per cent of the annual growth in power generation by 2030 in line with projected growth in the economy.

The growth targeted an increase in consumers from the industrial sector and households.

Currently, the highest consumers are in the manufacturing sector composing of more than 6,000 industries generating over 60 per cent revenue to Kenya Power.

Households take up to 7 million connections to the national grid.

However, high electricity bills have been blamed for discouraging some of this consumers including malls that are turning to solar power projects.

The low demand has also seen the government cut the target for expanding electricity output by 2030.

It now plans to add 7,200 MW of installed electricity capacity to the national grid, down from an original target of 10,000 MW.

In 2018 that demand for electricity was estimated to grow by nine per cent a year until 2021 and then ease back to seven per cent annually.