- The jump in demand and low supply reduced the country’s headroom of extra capacity from 140MW to about 50MW in the past 12 months.
- High tariffs charged by independent power producers have squeezed Kenya Power’s ability to lower the cost of electricity.
Electricity from Ethiopia has come in handy to save Kenya from power rationing as the 30-year high drought chock.
Last week, the power utility firm told journalists that electricity production was at 2,200 megawatts against a peak demand of 2,150 megawatts, leaving the country highly exposed to a capacity gap.
"The ongoing longest drought in 30 years is straining our local production capabilities. We are forced to employ a number of interventions to ensure things are running smoothly, including blocking access for some domestic consumers,'' Kenya Power said.
The jump in demand and low supply reduced the country’s headroom of extra capacity from 140MW to about 50MW in the past 12 months.
Even so, the importation of electricity from Ethiopia, which commenced in November last year is helping Kenya's Power balance supply, avoiding the power rationing menace witnessed in the 1990s.
The country signed a 25-year deal with the Horn of Africa nation to import electricity in a bid to edge out the expensive power from the national grid and also ensure the country meets peak demand.
Electricity supply from Ethiopia is helping us minimise load shedding or subscription of more expensive power.
Load shedding happens when a distributor switches off the power supply to a group of customers because the entire system is at risk.
Power distributors adopt load shedding to ease pressure on a primary source when demand is greater than the primary power source can supply.
Kenya signed a 25-year power purchase deal with Ethiopia to import 600 megawatts of electricity. It is expected to run to 2047, earning the landlocked nation as much as $100 million annually.
The $500 million line to Kenya has the capacity to transmit 2,000 megawatts of electricity.
According to Kenya Power, at least 75-100MW received from Ethiopia has greatly helped to iron out volatilities.
Ethiopia is planning to construct a $5 billion dam which is expected to generate 5,150 megawatts of electricity once completed in 2024.
Apart from Kenya, Ethiopia has signed supply agreements with Sudan, Djibouti, Somaliland, Tanzania and South Sudan.
High tariffs charged by independent power producers have squeezed Kenya Power’s ability to lower the cost of electricity.
Apart from cutting off a small section of consumers, the power man has been forced to activate the costly thermals which saw it spend billions of shilling in the first six months of the year, sinking it into Sh1.1 billion loss.
Last year, the listed power distributor spent Sh123.4 billion on 24 IPPs, according to an internal audit report.
Last year, the uptake of electricity from thermal energy plants increased to 1,539GwH from 876GwH, with Kenya Power spending Sh26.5 billion on fuel-cost-based generated power, up from Sh11.2 billion in 2021.
Major suppliers were Rabai Power, Thika Power Limited, Iberafrica, Tsavo and Gulf Power, which cumulatively earned more than Sh12.6 billion from selling units to Kenya Power.