ELECTRIFICATION

New connections resume as Kenya Power contracts 118 firms

This ends a vacuum created last year when Kenya Power terminated more than 500 contactors for delays on works.

In Summary

•This is expected to end a public outcry on new connections where customers have complained of having to wait up to 10 months to get connected despite paying connection fees.

•The firm has also launched a live maintenance programme that will end power disruptions countrywide.

Kenya Power has contracted 118 labour and transport firms to help end the countrywide pileup on new electricity connections, which has hampered distribution in the last one year.

The companies are expected to offer electrical engineering services including power line construction and backing up the utility firms’ engineering department in handling distribution across the country.

This ends the  void created early last year when the company terminated more than 500 contactors for delays on works. It was also realised some of the companies were owned by insiders leading to a probe and cancellation of some tenders.

 

“We had a challenge almost the whole of last year. We have had a long stretch of litigation, we were able to have a good compromise, the case was withdrawn, we went for tender, and we have completed the tender for labour and transport contractors,” acting managing director and CEO Jared Othieno said yesterday.

He spoke after Kenya Power launched the World Bank funded Sh2 billion live maintenance programme, aimed at minimising outages and scheduled interruptions.

“We have 68 contractors who have already started working as of last month and today (yesterday) we have another 50 who are coming in to sign the contracts after they have given us their performance bond. These ones will go ahead and compliment the teams that are there,” Othieno said.

This is expected to end a public outcry on new connections where customers have complained of having to wait up to 10 months to get connected to the main grid, despite paying the required connection fees to the company.

The latest development is also a boost to Kenya Power which is aligning itself to resume expansion works on its medium and low voltage electricity distribution network under the Last Mile Connectivity Program (LMCP).

Works on this programme had been abandoned after the previous contracts were terminated with Kenya Power threatening to blacklist contractors for various projects for substandard work, failure to submit proper documentation and in certain cases interfering with the tendering process. 

The network expansion comes after the government secured funding to the tune of US$ 199 million(Sh20.6 billion) from three multilateral lenders.

 

The French Development Agency and the European Union have extended $132 million (13.7billion), where 75 per cent is a sovereign concessional loan while the rest is grant.

Elsewhere, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has pledged about Sh6 million in support of the LMCP programme, aimed at connecting about 280,475 households in 32 counties to the national grid within a period of three years.

“The contactors will be able to assist our internal resources to be able to work through the last mile connectivity project and I think now you will see a very faster pace now that they are coming on board,” Othieno said.

Yesterday, Kenya power dispatched 32 live specialized trucks to its 10 regions across the country as it moves to full-scale on live maintenance of power lines.

This is after a successful pilot project in Nairobi’s industrial area where outages and disruptions had come down by 40 per cent.