On Thursday, Kenya’s national electricity distributor, Kenya Power (KPLC), signed 11 contractual agreements to fast-track the implementation of the Last Mile Connectivity Project in January 2016.
The project financier, the African Development Bank (AfDB), has recently completed approval procedures consenting the national power utility to engage with contractors who won bids to implement the $150 million (Shs.15 billion) project, the company’s managing director and CEO, Dr Ben Chumo said at the signing.
Last Mile Connectivity Project expands access
Chumo added that the signing of the agreements signifies commencement of the initial phase of the countrywide project that will connect around 314,000 households to electricity and provide electricity access to an additional 1.5 million Kenyans.
“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,” Chumo said.
The project will be managed by Feedback Infra Pvt and Maknes Consulting Engineers and will be implemented over an 18-month period, commencing in January 2016.
Chumo optimistically said: “We aim to connect over one million new customers every year going forward in order to achieve the 70% connectivity milestone by 2017. That is why the successful implementation of the Last Mile Connectivity Project is of critical importance to us.
“This mega project was launched by the President in May this year to scale up connectivity by providing subsidy for extending the grid to enable Kenyans [to] get electricity supply at affordable cost.
He added: “The Last Mile Connectivity Project aims at increasing electricity access notably to rural and peri-urban areas, accelerating economic growth at the micro-economic level and improving quality of lives.”
The AFD together with the European Union are planning to mobilise around $131 million for the implementation of the Last Mile Connectivity project.
According to Chumo, $98 million “will be a concessional sovereign loan from the French Government and €30 million will be a grant from European Union. This financing shall cover 33 Counties previously covered by AFD’s electrification projects.”
Chumo added that a total of 230,000 customers will be connected under this component, increasing access by a further 1.2 million Kenyans.