•1,200 transformers will also be instaled, with the project expected to be completed in two years.
•Homes within a radius of 600 metres from the transformers will be connected to power afterwards.
The Rural Electrification and Renewable Corporation will connect at least 35,000 homes to the national electricity grid.
The Sh5.5 billion Electrification of Public Facilities project will put up 2,850km of electric lines in 33 counties.
The first phase of the project will cover Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Busia, Bungoma, West Pokot, Kisii, Kisumu and Nyamira.
Nakuru, Nandi, West Pokot, Baringo, Trans Nzoia and Elgeiyo Marakwet will benefit from the second phase while Kajiado, Narok, Kiambu and Nyeri will be in third.
Kitui, Nyandarua, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Laikipia, Murang’a, Samburu, Machakos, Kiambu and Isiolo will be in the fourth phase.
Makueni, Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River, Taita Taveta and Kitui will be covered will be in the fifth phase.
At least 1,200 transformers will also be installed, with the project expected to be completed in two years.
The power lines will target health facilities, schools, markets and town centres.
Corporation CEO Peter Mbugua said all homes within a radius of 600 metres from the transformers will be connected to power afterwards.
“We want to construct the long power lines, some spanning about 52 kilometres and reach areas which have never had electricity,” Mbugua said.
The project has been financed by the government in partnership with Arab Development Partners, including Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, OPEC fund for International Development, Saudi Fund for Development and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.
The connectivity will spur development in the counties and help in the implementation of the Big 4 agenda by improving health care services and encouraging cottage industries.
It will also encourage investors to invest in areas that have been previously lagging due to a lack of electricity.
Mbugua told The Star that contractors are on the ground and that areas such as Kibwezi have had tens of kilometres of electric power lines already instaled.
In its strategic plan, REREC intends to have all homes connected to electricity by 2022.
Kenya ranks amongst countries with the highest number of electricity connections in the continent, with over 22,000 learning institutions already connected under the last mile project.
The transformer maximization project has also had homes lying within the 600 metres radius of the transformer benefit.
“This will positively impact the lives of many,” he said.
He however said that some contractors will have to face rough terrains especially in Tana River where they will have to ferry electric poles across the vast River Tana to access remote villages that have been earmarked for connectivity.
Tana River, he said, has the lowest penetration of electric lines in the country.
Women have been forced to hawk their milk along the Garissa - Hola road and are optimistic that the availability of power will help them to preserve their milk and reduce their losses.
In Dutanotu, many residents have failed to acquire identity cards because of the long distance they are forced to travel to get photocopies of their documents.
REREC was established as the successor of the Rural Electrification Authority following the enactment of the Energy Act, 2019 with the expanded mandate of spearheading Kenya’s renewable energy drive and implementing rural electrification projects.
In June, the government was hailed in a Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa summit for increasing electricity access from 2.3 million connections in 2013 to 8.2 million by the end of April this year, boosting connectivity to over 75 per cent.
Edited by Kiilu Damaris