The use of electricity in rural areas, latest data from Kenya Power showed Wednesday, hit a high 45 million kilowatts per hour (KWh) a month last year, from 39 million KWh in 2014.

powerIn total, according to the data, Kenyans in rural areas last year consumed 520 million KWh of electricity, up from 474 million KWh in 2014, a rise of 46 million KWh.

The surge is attributed to deliberate efforts by the Kenyan government to electrify rural areas across the East African nation.

In May last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Last Mile Connectivity Project, which targets to connect households and schools particularly in rural areas to expand electricity access to all Kenyans.

The initiative spearheaded by the Rural Electrification Authority targets 5,000 transformers out of the 40,000 across the country in a three-year programme.

The first phase was funded by the World Bank and the government to the tune of 34.3 million U.S. dollars and was to connect 1.5 million Kenyans or 318,000 households located within 600 meters of the identified transformers.

Schools are the biggest beneficiaries of the initiative, with the government expected to connect all the over 36,000 schools with electricity this year.

The number of schools with electricity connection currently stands at 22,175 from 8,203 in 2013, pushing up consumption.

The intensified power connection has led to the increase in the number of electricity consumers in the East African nation, with Kenya Power connecting more than 1.04 million new customers, raising the number of households with access to electricity to over 3.3 million, representing a growth of 46 per cent growth in slightly over a year.

According to the data from Kenya Power, May and July 2015 registered the highest number of consumption in rural areas, with use standing at 52 and 50 million KWh respectively.

The lowest consumption was registered in December, at 38 million KWh. However, the bulk of power consumption in Kenya (about 550 million KWh a month) still occurs in urban areas.

“The rise in electricity consumption in rural areas shows government efforts to spread power connections are paying off in a big way. This is what Kenya needs if it is to become a middle-income economy,” said Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer.

Kenya has significantly increased electricity production from geothermal sources to about 50 percent of the total mix while hydro stands at about 40 percent to cater for rising demand.

East African nation’s geothermal power production peaked at 400 million KWh a month last year, up from 300 million KWh. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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