690,000 TO BENEFIT

Sh42 billion to connect rural homes to electricity grid

Energy PS says new connections will push the national coverage up from 75 per cent to 78 per cent

In Summary
  • Energy Principal Secretary Alex Wachira has has confirmed that the new connections will push the national coverage up from 75 percent to about 78 percent.
  • He however noted that vandalism cost the country an equivalent of Sh2 billion annually last year and has since been stemmed.
Maragua MP Mary Waithera and Energy Principal Secretary Alex Wachira help to erect a power pole for Mugira power project in Kambiti on July 5, 2024.
Maragua MP Mary Waithera and Energy Principal Secretary Alex Wachira help to erect a power pole for Mugira power project in Kambiti on July 5, 2024.
Image: Alice Waithera

The government through the Energy ministry, has set aside Sh42 billion to connect over 690,000 Kenyans in the grassroots to electricity.

Energy Principal Secretary Alex Wachira said new connections will push the national coverage up from 75 per cent to about 78 per cent.

This is in line with the government’s commitment to ensure 100 per cent coverage by the year 2030.

He however acknowledged that the government still has a long way to go to ensure all Kenyan homes are covered.

The withdrawn Finance Bill 2024, he noted, had recommended an increase of the budget for Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation to about Sh14.5 billion which was to ensure an increase in the rate of connectivity.

“We may not get the entire amount now but we hope to get something because Kenyans are in dire need of electricity.  We always ensure we engage the communities before we embark on any project,” he said.

REREC workers work on Mugira power project that will connect 130 homes to power in Maragua constituency.
REREC workers work on Mugira power project that will connect 130 homes to power in Maragua constituency.
Image: Alice Waithera

Wachira spoke while launching the Sh10 million Mugira power project in Kambiti area, Maragua constituency that has been implemented by REREC and which will connect 130 homes to power.

With a budget of Sh597 million, the PS said the government is currently undertaking 101 power projects in Murang’a county that will cover 15,000 homes and significantly increase connectivity in the county.

“In Mugira village, there was an illegally connected line that was serving 10 homes. Instead of removing the line, we are recovering what we needed to recover and connecting more homes,” he said.

He said the project will boost the local economy and enable residents to mechanise their farming and boost their earnings.

“Women will be able to open up beauty salons in the locality and men will run barber shops and enhance their grooming.”

The PS lauded MPs for partnering with the Energy ministry and helping to map out uncovered areas and working together to have them installed with power.

Last mile electrification projects are being done countrywide in partnership with Rerec and Kenya Power Company.

Wachira said vandalism is one of the main hindrances of power connectivity in the country noting that by last year, the country lost about 1.5 transformers daily, an equivalent of Sh2 billion annually.

Mugira village residents during the launch of Mugira electricity project on July 5, 2024.
Mugira village residents during the launch of Mugira electricity project on July 5, 2024.
Image: Alice Waithera

“This was a very huge cost to the tax payers as the replaced transformers could have expanded power in other areas,” he added.

He however commended National Government Administrative Officers, members of the public, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the energy police unit for helping to significantly cut the vandalism.

The ministry, he said, went on an aggressive campaign towards reduction of the vandalism, urging members of the public to continue giving information to safeguard their energy, roads and railway infrastructure.

Maragua MP Mary Waithera said when she was elected in 2017, the constituency only had 35 per cent power coverage that has since improved to 55 per cent, meaning a large number of he constituents are yet to be covered.

In Mugira village, the MP said the existence of an illegal line indicates the high need for power in the uncovered rural areas.

Two other projects in Mathingira and Kanderendu villages implemented by Rerec are also complete.

The projects were pledged by President William Ruto during the national tree planting day held in the constituency on May 10.

“I want to laud the government for making strides towards bottom up transformation that has in turn empowered Kenyans and improved farmers’ earnings,” he added.

Electricity, Waithera said, makes lives easier especially for women who are mostly burdened with running homes.

The MP said some of the measures included in the now withdrawn Finance Bill had the element of boosting power connections in rural areas which may be slightly affected.

“But since the President decided to withdraw it and we support him as Kenya Kwanza leaders, we will now have to use last year’s bill and we support him in fighting corruption and wastages.”


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