1 June 2012 – Kenya’s Rural Electrification Authority (REA) is reported in Kenyan newspaper the Star as saying that about 73% of Kenya’s population now has access to electricity owing to its efforts to connect public facilities across the country.
CEO Zachary Ayieko says the authority targets to achieve 100% access in the next two years. “To date, REA has electrified 18,000 public facilities leaving a balance of 7,000 to be electrified in the next two years. The electrification of these public facilities means that about 73% of the population in the rural areas have access to electricity.”
Ayieko defines access to electricity as being within 1.2 km of a low-voltage line. It differs from connectivity which refers to the actual number of households and people within them connected as compared to the total population in the country.
Public facilities targeted include trading centres, secondary schools, primary schools, health centres and community water works as well as domestic households within the vicinity of these facilities. The ministry of energy established the Rural Electrification Programme in 1973 to subsidise the extension of electricity supply to the rural areas but poor results were achieved.
An overhaul of the energy policy in the country led to the creation of the REA in 2006. “Before the establishment of REA connectivity in the rural area stood at 4% including 1,729 public facilities,” energy minister Kiraitu Murungi said in a speech read for him by deputy Mahmoud Mohammed.