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Power firm to light up more homes

Kenya Power is set to power 526,700 houses through the second phase of the last mile connectivity project (LMCP) after signing a Sh30 billion deal with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and World Bank.

The utility firm is banking on this project to install more transformers and link more Kenyans to the national grid as the country plans to attain universal connectivity by 2020.

This will be in addition to another 12,000 kilometres of low voltage distribution lines targeting customers within 600 metres of transformer radius at a subsidised cost of Sh15,000 under the programme in phase one.

The project will be undertaken by 23 contractors distributed across the country in what is particularly expected to address the high cost of power supply in rural areas. Since the onset of LMCP, Kenya Power has grown its base by 1.4 million new customers to increase customer base to 6,182,282 as per the last financial year.

This has raised electricity connectivity access rate from 27 per cent in 2014 to 70.3 per cent. In the first phase of the LMCP, 314,200 households were targeted by AfDB at Sh13.5 billion while World Bank funded another 312,500 households at a cost of Sh15 billion.

Speaking during the event, Kenya Power managing director and chief executive Ken Tarus urged contractors to tap local suppliers and manufacturers so that most of the money remains in the country.

Tarus pointed out that local wooden and concrete pole manufacturers were among those set to benefit from the project. “We are looking at more than 233,000 concrete poles and 391,000 wooden poles, more than 10,000 kms of cables, more than 65,000 kms of conductors and some 1,000 transformers to be used,” he said. World Bank has provided a loan of Sh15.5 billion while AfDB will provide Sh14 billion to connect low income households to the national electricity grid.

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