NAIROBI, APR 24 — Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) is set to step up power generation from its hydro stations following heavy rains being experienced in several parts of the country, a move expected to help reduce power bills for Kenyans.
According to weather forecast for the next five days, the rains are expected to continue over several parts of the country and there may be localized heavy showers and thunderstorms in some areas.
KenGen says the increase in rainfall will see water levels at its dams rise, allowing optimum power generation.
At the same time, the Nairobi Securities Exchange -listed power generator has allayed fears that the dams cause flooding in surrounding areas.
“The dams actually control the flooding by holding much of the water from the rains, without which the effects of the floods would be much worse,” said KenGen Managing Director and CEO Rebecca Miano.
As at the time of going to press, the Masinga dam which is the largest in the Seven Forks cascade had risen to 1,045.86 meters against a maximum level of 1,056.50 meters.
By stepping up hydro generation, KenGen is ensuring stability of power supply as this will compliment contribution of the dominant geothermal after a prolonged period of drought that affected all the Hydro power plants in the country.
The power generator had scaled down generation from its Hydros early this year following the severe drought that saw a reduction in water levels at the dams. The deficit was, however, offset by power from geothermal and wind sources.
Miano says the favorable weather will increase contribution from the hydro power stations going forward which the company says the dams expect to receive the highest levels by end of May 2018.
“We will step up hydro generation in the months ahead but ensure we conserve available water to last until the short rains later in the year,” Miano said.
The current rains will affect Eastern Hydros of Masinga, Kamburu, Gitaru, Kindaruma, Kiambere, which draw water from Tana as well as Turkwel and Sondu Miriu hydros which draw water from Turkwel and Sondu rivers respectively.
Currently all these rivers are experiencing heavy inflows which are expected to continue until the end of next month.
During normal hydrology, hydro dams account for 52.04 per cent of total national mix. KenGen’s total installed hydro capacity currently stands at 820MW.