The pragmatic decision we took in early 2010 to buy 80 per cent of all equipment and materials needed for electricity distribution locally is paying off.
It is good to note that a number of international companies dealing with manufacturing of meters, transformers, steel structures and prefabricated items have expressed interest in setting up local factories. Indeed, one manufacturer of meters has set up a plant. This is a clear indication that our policy of Buy-Kenya-Build-Kenya is working. Three transformer manufacturers have put in place facilities, acquired or installed some equipment, hired workforce and rented space in readiness to assemble the devices.
Pan Africa Transformers & Switchgears Ltd has partnered with Emirates Transformer & Switchgear Limited and another Turkish firm on technology transfer. M/S Yocean (Group) Limited has a joint venture with a subsidiary of Power China Group, a Chinese parastatal, on financial and technical aspects. M/S Continental Transformers (EA) Limited have partnered with Continental Transformers Limited, India, for knowledge-sharing and technical collaboration. M/S Pan Africa Transformers & Switchgears Limited and M/S Yocean (Group) Limited began the repair of KPLC transformers mid-2016, and have a number of activities going on.
The Last Mile Connectivity Project, which aims to connect households to power at a subsidised rate of Sh15,000, will increase the demand for locally manufactured equipment such as poles, cables and meters.
The first phase of the LMCP, funded by the Kenyan government and the African Development Bank to the tune of Sh13.5 billion, targets to connect 314,000 households. It is expected to use more than 300,000 poles (both wooded and concrete), and close to more than 10,000,000 meters of cables and conductors. Similarly, phase two of the Last Mile will connect a similar number of households. The World Bank has injected Sh15 billion for this phase, during which an additional 1,000 transformers will be installed.
Kenya Power is undertaking a countrywide upgrade of its existing network to improve electricity supply. The cost of this exercise, valued at Sh13 billion, involves replacement of wooden poles with concretes ones, re-conductoring, building of additional substations, and installation of transformers to make power more reliable. These new developments will promote local manufacturers and create jobs.
Dr Ben Chumo is the chief executive
of Kenya Power