By Ruth Carol Atieno
Electricity prices shoots up again
Kenya, for quite a long time, has been hit by a dry spell and this year, the rains came later than expected. To make matters worse, the down pour has been poor. Most if not all regions in Kenya are experiencing very little rains.
Not forgetting our rivers, from which hydropower is harnessed. The water levels have greatly decreased which means the amount of hydropower harnessed has also decreased big time!
What is the current electricity demand in Kenya?
Currently, the electricity demand in Kenya is 1,600MW and is expected grow with the government working on increasing access to electricity especially among the households in the rural areas.
Following the poor rains, the generation of hydropower has drastically reduced by 39% between August 2018 and February 2019, information from the Energy & Petroleum Regulation Authority. Kenya is now generating more electricity using diesel.
If you are keen enough, you will notice your electricity bill has been slowly increasing. Take a look at specifically the month of May, the cost of fuel has increased drastically. And this is because the cheaper hydropower is not enough to sustain the electricity demand in Kenya.
The rise of fuel cost levy
The fuel cost levy which was previously Sh.2.75, rose up to Sh.3.75 per Kilowatt hour. The Energy Principal Secretary, Joseph Njoroge, explained that the fuel cost charge has gone up due to the prolonged drought that the country has gone through recently. He also added that the situation would have been worse if we had no intervention from wind power, we would have experienced the highest ever fuel cost charge coupled with some power rationing.
The new Sh.3.75 charge already took effect, on Friday 10th, for the consumers using the prepaid system. As for the consumers using postpaid, they are yet to feel the punch from June. This means that homes and businesses, on a monthly average, will have to pay an additional whooping Sh930 million in fuel costs.
EPRA yet to release April data and there is no hope for any good news. Clearly, since the rainfall patterns are not pleasing.
Our hope now is on the two largest clean energy sources in Kenya, Lake Turkana Wind Power which has a capacity of 850 Kilowatt hours and the 50 Megawatt Garissa Solar Power Plant, from which the government has promised increased generation of cheaper electricity.