Transmission line
Transmission line
Kenya needs to improve its transmission system to allow for the extra generation capacity to serve the demand

In East Africa, managing director of the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), Albert Mugo, stated that efforts to boost power generation in the country will mean nothing without an upgrade of the ailing transmission infrastructure.

He said that: “the Government told us to increase our power capacity because of the demand, but if there is an unreliable transmission and distribution system, then surely the demand is irrelevant?”

According to Mugo, KenGen added an additional 360MW to the grid around five months ago with an extra 370MW expected to come online in the near future. He stressed that as long as old, faulty power lines exist, power outages will remain, Standard Digital News reported.

Speaking at the company’s public forum on Friday, Mugo said: “It’s time the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) worked on those lines. Some of them are older than most of us.”

Cause of recent power outages

Standard Digital News reported that an audience member at a public forum was curious to know why Nairobi suffered a major blackout three days ago.

On Thursday, Nairobi, Coast and Mt. Kenya region experienced an outage in the late afternoon as a result of a fault in the bulk supply transmission system at Juja Substation in Nairobi, Kenya Power announced in a statement that same day.

In response to the member’s query, Mugo said that the company currently produces 2,000MW and will increase to 5,219MW by 2020.

Comparing Kenya to Ethiopia, Mugo noted that Ethiopia, a country currently experiencing rapid economic growth and stability, will be producing 10,000MW by 2020, double Kenya’s output.

This means that with more energy to power its economy, Ethiopia will attract more investors, and given its favourable demographics, could soon surpass Kenya as a regional economic powerhouse, media reported.

The company plans to drive the government’s development agenda by providing energy through building more geothermal power plants at Olkaria.