There will be no increase in power bills following the implementation of the 16 per cent VAT on petroleum products, the Ministry of Energy has said.
Speaking to the Senate Committee on Energy last week, Energy Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge downplayed allegations that the amount of thermal energy being fed into the national grid will affect power bills across the country.
He said 310Megawatts (MW) of wind power will be assimilated into the grid and this will offset VAT charges, leaving electricity bills largely unaffected.
The energy PS told the Senate Committee that the “Because of the wind power, the amount of diesel used in the thermal power generators will be considerably thanks to the wind power that will be linked to the national grid. This he said will reduced the extent to which consumers feel the 16 per cent VAT on petroleum products.
The PS’ was responding to concerns raised by the Senate Committee on Energy on the implementation of the tax which has not been received well by Kenyans across the country.
The government’s decision to generate wind power at Lake Turkana and to oust power generators so as to minimize electric costs have been as a result of the Ministry of Energy’s efforts to find other viable sources of energy other than petroleum.
The energy PS said a boost on Kenya’s renewable energy levels is expected especially after the 436 kilometre stretch between Loyangalani to Suswa is energized.
Mr Njoroge said that users will not pay the Sh1 billion penalties loaded on monthly electricity bills even though the power line completion has delayed beyond the September deadline.
The wind power scheme in Turkana is the single largest generation source that will be incorporated into the grid once the lines from Suswa to Nairobi are powered. The line has a capability of 310 megawatts which is enough to power about a million homes. No other wind power project in the continent comes close to its capacity.
According to Kenya Power Company, the largest electricity retailer in the country, geothermal power accounted for 44 per cent of the total energy purchased in the period to June 2017 while hydro provided 33 per cent according to Kenya Power.
Further reports from Kenya Power show that contribution of the diesel-fired thermal power plants to the total energy mix increased to 21 per cent up from 13 per cent in 2016.
Subsequently, 50MW of solar powered energy will be assimilated into the grid before 2019 in hopes of reducing Kenya’s 14 per cent dependence on diesel driven plants