Kenya Power yesterday said the slowdown in the country’s growth hit consumption of electricity by small commercial users. Speaking at an investors briefing on the firm’s performance for the year ended June 2017, General Manager for Finance Harun Karisa said the only increase in power consumption was by government through street lighting.
“Domestic consumption increased but small commercial consumption dropped as a result of the general slowdown in the economy,” he said. He said the increase was mainly due to consumption by commercial industrial and street lighting.
Electricity consumption grew to 8.27 Giga Watts per Hour GW/h) from 7.9 GW/h last year. Small commercial consumption fell by 2.3 per cent while domestic consumption increased by 13.1 per cent as a result of expanded access under the government promoted last mile project, according to figures released by the firm during the briefing. Street light consumption increased by 42 per cent while industrial consumption increased by 4.3 per cent.
Managing director, Ken Tarus confirmed that Geothermal power had dropped by three per cent in the firm’s power mix from 46.95 per cent to 43.62 per cent but blamed the fall on the transmission challenges and repairs of two geothermal power stations.
He said the drop was occasioned by lack of a transmission line from Suswa to Mombasa, adding there was also the need for repair and upgrading of two generation stations namely Ol Karia I and Ol Karia IV which meant source of power from geothermal dropped.
“We have progressed on plans for the transmission line and we expect that the situation will not occur again in future,” said Tarus. Figures presented by the firm showed that there was a 7 percentage points spike in contribution of thermal power to 21.21 per cent from 13.2 percent and a 5.84 percentage points drop in hydro power to 32.74 per cent from 38.54 per cent the previous year.
The CEO said the changing increase in thermo power and drop in hypropower in the power mix was a result of a prolonged drought that hit the country during the year. “Rains dropped in the eastern parts of the country where hydro dams are located which forced us to drop the use of hydropower to conserve water levels,” said Tarus.
He also admitted the firm taken an overdraft facility but said it should not be an issue of concern to shareholders since it was to support the firm’s working capital.