Industries and households in Kenya could soon be out of frequent power interruptions and outages as Kenya Power kicks off live maintenance of power lines.
The programme launched on Monday this week is meant to reduce planned electricity shutdowns, enhance stability of power supply and improve revenue generation.
The launch follows the completion of the pilot phase where more than 70 staff were trained to carry out maintenance of live power lines.
During the pilot phase, eight insulated trucks and three digger derricks were also acquired.
Following the success of the pilot phase, the World Bank has funded the programme to a tune of $20 million (about Ksh2 billion) for procurement of additional insulated trucks, tools and accessories, training of staff in live line maintenance techniques and establishment of a laboratory for testing live line equipment.
The programme is supported by South African firm-IDUBE electrical, which has trained a total of 144 live line maintenance staff through the funding, bringing the total number of live line staff to more than 200.
A total of 32 trucks have been dispatched to the various regions across the country as the live line programme kicks-inn.
“The Company is focused on the provision of quality power supply by strengthening electricity network and streamlining internal processes to improve customer experience and stakeholder confidence,” Kenya Power’s Jared Othieno said during the launch, a day before the company named a new CEO.
“We believe that improving the reliability of power supply to our customers is crucial in accelerating the development and growth of our country,” he added.
Since commencement of the live line programme, the number of planned shutdowns has reduced by approximately 40 per cent. This is expected to reduce further with the full implementation of the programme.
The completion of this project is an addition to the various milestones the company has achieved in the recent past to strengthen and expand its network coverage.
In the past 12 months, Kenya Power has attained significant success in the quest to enhance network coverage and improve the reliability of power supply to customers by enhancing efficiency and investing in IT systems.
Notably, the company has focused on the provision of quality power supply by strengthening its electricity network and streamlining internal processes to improve customer experience and stakeholder confidence.
It has subsequently made remarkable progress on implementation of the Time of Use Tariff to lower energy tariffs for manufactures and increase productivity, implemented power system loss reduction initiatives and the hybridization of the power generation systems to enhance power supply reliability and reduce dependence on thermal energy for off-grid areas.
The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) listed firm has also accelerated electricity access across the country, constructed several power lines serving major industrial and agricultural installations for high energy-consuming customers and enhanced metering processes, all to the benefit of consumers.
“ As a Company, we believe that improving the reliability of power supply to the customer is crucial in accelerating the development and growth of our country,” management said.
Live Line Project Pilot
The live line project is a significant infrastructure project to support Kenya’s rising energy demand as it grows and develops. For a long time, Kenya Power customers have demanded a reliable and stable power supply.
The live line maintenance is therefore expected to enhance the stability of power across the country.
Dubbed Kenya electricity modernization programme, the project was initiated in the 2014/15 financial year after extensive studies on modern methods of reducing planned outages.
Benefits of the project
The live line project is a major milestone given that it will help Kenya Power staff to be able to carry out the network maintenance on High Voltage Lines without completely switching off the supply.
The use of the live line will help reduce power outages in the country and this will, in turn, help customers save costs and also ensure a smooth flow in businesses.
A typical line in the Kenya Power network serves up to 10,000 customers and during maintenance, the line is advertised for a shutdown of eight hours.
Such shutdowns inconvenience both domestic and industrial users. Since the project commenced, the power outages have reduced by 40 per cent and this has significantly improved savings realized by Kenya Power, while positively impacting the economy.
According to Kenya Power, the savings realised by the company in one shutdown is approximately Ksh500,000(about $4,832.59), translating to four times that on savings to the economy.
The success of the project is largely because of the financial commitments by World Bank, the company has affirmed.
Yesterday, management said it remains committed to delivering reliable and sufficient electricity to drive the ‘Big 4 Agenda’ and support the implementation of Vision 2030.
The company is a national electric utility company, managing electric metering, licensing, billing, emergency electricity service and customer relations.
It owns and operates most of the electricity transmission and distribution system in the country and sells electricity to over 6.8 million customers.