Kenya’s electricity demand rises amid COVID-19

NAIROBI, KENYA - 2019/12/15: A man is seen fixing illegal connections from a legal power post set up by Kenya Power in Kibera Slums Lack of electricity had been and is still one of the poverty and problems faced by over 2 million citizens living in Kenya's largest informal settlement Kibera Slums. It is one of the big challenges that has participated in drugging down Kenya's economic growth as not everyone can pay the energy consumption bills. In Kibera Slums, Illegal Electricity acts as one of the basic needs to most owners of small businesses operating here from early mornings till late midnights and serves most jobless youths who depend on it as their main Source of Income by renting it out illegally for 2 to 3 dollars to be able to feed their families and pay their bills. Despite the 2015 joint collaboration of the World Bank and (K.P.L.C) Kenya Power and Lighting Corporation which is Kenya's main Power distributor to come together and create cheap and fair access to electricity. By creating electric tokens and being able to provide them to few numbers of homes, not everyone prefers this method but they instead run for the poor and risky illegal supply. Most of the time residents here have been enjoying the Illegal connection of electricity but most times they are attacked by abrupt skirmishes like fire outbreak and deaths from the naked uncovered wires running from Rooftops to different corners of the houses and underground leading to death and burning down of house and loss of Properties. (Photo by Donwilson Odhiambo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: A man is seen fixing illegal connections from a legal power post set up by Kenya Power in Kibera slums. (Photo by Donwilson Odhiambo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Kenya’s electricity demand expanded to 1,944 MW compared to 1,804 MW attained in February amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the state-owned electricity generator said on Tuesday.

Rebecca Miano, CEO of the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) told journalists that demand for electricity dropped between April and June due to containment measures put in place by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“The demand for power will keep rising going forward and so we will continue with the implementation of the projects that were in the pipeline,” Miano said.

KenGen currently accounts for 72 percent of all electricity produced in the country with 80 percent coming from renewable sources of energy.

Miano said that Kenya is prioritizing use of green energy sources in order to promote environmental sustainability as well as adapt to and mitigate against the effects of climate change.

She said that the East African nation plans to conduct a feasibility study to establish the viability of establishing a waste to power electricity project based on recycling of solid waste generated by the city of Nairobi.

The KenGen senior official observed that Kenya currently produces 865 MW of geothermal power making it a top ten producer of power from the renewable energy source.

The state electricity generator, which is 70 percent owned by the government also produces about 818 MW of power from hydro electricity sources, Miano said.

She noted that production of power from hydro sources is vulnerable to changes in climate such as extreme drought when water levels at dams affect electricity production.

According to Miano, the government plans to roll out hydrology funds in order to cushion producers of electricity from hydro sources.

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