STOPS CRIMINALISATION

Power firm changes tack to end vandalism

Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation boss Gicharu says they are educating communities

In Summary

• On average, Kenya loses about Sh300 million annually to vandalism of equipment and structures in the energy sector.

• The corporation expects to earn Sh431m annually from the sale of power from the Garissa Solar Power Plant.

CEO Peter Mbugua and chairman Simon Gicharu during an induction at PrideInn Paradise Hotel in Shanzu, Mombasa, on Monday.
CEO Peter Mbugua and chairman Simon Gicharu during an induction at PrideInn Paradise Hotel in Shanzu, Mombasa, on Monday.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

The Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation has changed strategy to reduce vandalism and deliver on its expanded mandate.

"We used to criminalise vandalism but we realised we are not getting anywhere. We are now talking to communities to teach them the importance of our projects. We want them to feel they own the projects," chairman Simon Gicharu said.

He spoke yesterday during the opening of an induction of the board and the management of the corporation at PrideInn Paradise Hotel in Shanzu, Mombasa.

 

Gicharu said on average, Kenya loses about Sh300 million annually due to vandalism of equipment and structures in the energy sector.

The corporation, which was enactment after the Energy Bill 2017, was previously known as the Rural Electrification Authority.  Its mandates is to establish energy centres in all the 47 counties.

These are centres of excellence where one can walk in and see, in a nutshell, what the corporation. People can also learn about renewable energy in these centres.

Presently, there are energy centres in Nairobi, Mombasa, Garisa and Lodwar among other areas.

Chief executive officer Peter Mbugua said the corporation has to become more innovative to generate its own funds to avoid over reliance  on the Exchequer.

"We have been getting a lot of support from donors. But we have to increase our partnership with counties, especially in the area of renewable energy,” Mbugua said.

 

Gicharu said the corporation expects to earn Sh431 million annually from the sale of power to Kenya Power from the Garissa Solar Power Plant.

The Garissa Solar Power Plant, a pet project of the corporation, is the largest in East and Central Africa . It adds about 54MW of energy to the national grid.

Gicharu said the corporation will find ways of subsidising the power produced at Garissa Solar Power Plant to the local population so the youth there can establish cottage industries.

Edited by the Pamela Wanambisi