Erratic weather to blame for rise in electricity prices

Electricity cables
PHOTO/COURTESY: Connections2Energy

By Edna Mwende,

The failed rains and dry weather experienced in different parts of the country forced Kenya to generate more electricity using diesel which set the stage for a rise in electricity prices through the monthly adjusted fuel surcharge levy.

Business Daily reports that official data released on Friday showed that consumers who consumed more than 200 kilowatt per hour (kWh), in May paid a historic high of Ksh4,762 from Ksh4,518 in April.

Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) data on the other hand shows that fuel levy, which is influenced by the share of electricity from diesel generators rose to Ksh3.75 per kilowatt hour (kWh), up from Ksh2.75 last month.

 At Ksh3.75, homes and businesses will be expected to pay an additional Ksh930 million in fuel costs charges based on the average monthly intake. The Ksh3.75 charge took effect on May 10 for prepaid consumers with postpaid users set to feel its pinch this month.

“The FCC (fuel cost charge) has slightly gone up due to the prolonged drought we just went through. It would have been worse if we had no intervention from the wind power, one would have experienced the highest ever FCC coupled with some power rationing,” the Energy Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge is report as having said in the Business Daily news report.

The drought cut generation of hydro power by 39 percent or 163 million kWh between August and February according to EPRA data. Business Daily similarly reports that this wiped out the benefits of the additional 151 million kWh of wind and solar power that was injected in the same period with the news reporting adding that EPRA is yet to release April data, which is set to be worse compared to February on the delayed rains.

Kenya’s electricity is also made expensive by high transmission losses of 18.9 percent, from theft through illegal connections and technical reasons.

This is the highest payment ever yet the government had promised cheaper electricity from increased use of two green sources, Lake Turkana Wind and Garissa Solar plant, by reducing costly thermal power.

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