On Tuesday, Kenya Power Chief Executive, Ben Chumo, said that the first phase of the Last Mile Connectivity Project (LMCP) will be launched on April 3, 2016.

Addressing the parliamentary Energy and ICT committee, Chumo noted that the first phase will take 18 months and will connect an estimated 314,200 households across the country’s 47 counties, providing electricity access to an additional 1.5 million Kenyans, Mediamax reported.

Last Mile Connectivity Project cost

“For many years we have not had accelerated accessibility to electricity, especially in the rural areas, because of the high cost of connectivity. But this is now going to change and we have projected to have universal connectivity by, or before, 2020,” Chumo said.

In December 2015, Kenya’s national electricity distributor, Kenya Power, signed 11 contractual agreements to fast-track the implementation of the Last Mile Connectivity Project in January 2016.

[quote]The project financier, the African Development Bank (AfDB), completed approval procedures consenting the national power utility to engage with contractors who won bids to implement the $150 million (Shs.15 billion) project.

At the time, Chumo explained: “A total of 5,320 existing distribution transformers will be utilised to the maximum through extension of low voltage network which entails construction of 12,000 kilometers of low voltage distribution lines. Customers within 600 metre transformer radius will be connected at a subsidised cost of Shs.15,000 under the programme.”

Expanding energy access

According to Chumo, Kenya Power has connected 53% of households in the country and by the end of next year they have plans to increase it to 70%.

The first phase will cost $150 million, with the African Development Bank (AfDB) contributing 87% of the amount and the government offsetting the rest.

“The French Development Agency, together with European Union, also aims to make available 120 million Euros ($133 million) for the implementation of the LMCP. Of this amount, Sh10 billion ($ 99 million) will be a concessional sovereign loan from the French Government and Sh3.3 billion ($29 million) will be a grant from the European Union,” said Chumo.