Nairobi, Kenya — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 18 February 2011 – The government of Kenya plans to connect an additional one million consumers to its national electricity grid in the next two years as the country strives to boost its rural electrification network.
Reuters reports that East Africa’s largest economy is beset by regular power outages due to insufficient electricity generation and a dilapidated transmission network. Business leaders say the blackouts are curbing economic growth.
Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) “’ the country’s sole power distributor “’ said it has 1.6 million customers that serve about 8 million people, accounting for 22% of the population.
“By 2013 one million new consumers will be connected to the national electricity grid,” said President Mwai Kibaki, during the launch of KPLC’s rights shares on the Nairobi Stock Exchange.
The company raised 9.8 billion Kenya shillings, 3.2% above target, to help fund upgrades to its network by issuing 488.6 new ordinary shares in a rights issue in December.
“The excess 300 million shillings has already been refunded to the applicants who could not get their full allocation,” said KPLC chairman Eliazar Ochola.
Kenya plans to spend US$2 billion this fiscal year to upgrade and expand the national grid, including the construction of 2 700 km of transmission line and the expansion of geothermal power generation by 280MW.
Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi said sector players were working to inject an additional 1 800MW to the national grid by 2015 through geothermal, wind, coal and thermal plants.