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Uganda accounted for the bulk of the imports at 98 per cent

Posted on 5th Feb 2018 21:05:15 in

Kenya Power Company personnel working on a power line at Tetu in Nyeri on February 2,2018. There has been numerous complainants from consumers about the wrong billing.Some consumers now want the company to give them the accurate billing without disconnecting their supply .Photo:Kibata Kihu

The amount of electricity Kenya imported last year grew threefold, contributing to the high power charges last year.

Kenya imports power from her neighbours to bridge the deficit in electricity generation. However, the drought last year resulted in increased imports from Uganda and Ethiopia.

According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data, the country imported 214 million kilowatt hours (KWh) of electricity in the 11 months to November 2017.

This was 193 per cent more than the 73 million units that Kenya imported over a similar period in 2016.

Uganda accounted for the bulk of the imports at 98 per cent.

While Uganda sources more than 90 per cent of its power from hydro sources, 10 per cent comes from thermal generators and the principal of importing and exporting power in the region dictates that importers get the most expensive electricity that the exporting country produces.

“When importing from Uganda, they will give Kenya the most expensive, which is reciprocated when they import from us. Their consumers have a priority whereby hey get the cheapest while the neighbours get the most expensive,” said the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in a statement. See Also: State borrowing adds to private sector credit woes

“There is an energy exchange agreement between Kenya and Uganda whereby there are considerations that one country will have to go the extra mile to give the neighbour the power it needs and, in turn, the neighbour has to take the most expensive electricity.”

According to ERC, the power that Kenya buys from Uganda is priced at a cross-border tariff of about Sh23 per unit.

Importing 214 million units would mean the country paid Ugandan power agencies over Sh4.9 billion for power imported over the 11 months.

The power import tariff of Sh23 per unit of electricity is in comparison to Sh3 that Kenyans pay for hydroelectricity and Sh7 for geothermal power.