Kenya Power roots for industrial parks to stem losses

Kenya: Kenya Power will to put up industrial parks in localities where power is produced. This will be part of efforts to reduce the cost of transmission and distribution.

The move is also part of the State-owned corporation’s efforts to avail cheaper power to households and industrialists. Amongst the areas targeted include Athi River and Olkaria that is geothermically active.

This comes as the power distributor and transmitting company warms up for an additional 5,000MW of power, which is to be generated over the next 40 months.

“There is a lot of power that is going to be generated between now and the next 40 months. We must be prepared to procure that power as and when it is produced,” Ben Chumo, the firm’s acting managing director and chief executive told The Standard.

Dr Chumo said plans are underway for Kenya Power to provide special distribution lines to the company’s big clients such as Bamburi Cement and Mabati Rolling Mills.

“With the additional dedicated lines, we expect the demand for power to go up,” he said.

Chumo said the power utility, in collaboration with the ministries of Energy and Petroleum, Transport and Infrastructure, and Industrialisation and Enterprise Development are working towards determining the capacity of power demanded by industrialists.

Kenya Power is also set to inject $700 million (Sh60 billion) into new substations and lengthy distribution lines over the next five years.

The Government is planning to generate an additional 5000MW of power to the national grid in the next 40 months through power mix such as geothermal, coal and liquefied natural gas, which are relatively cheaper compared to heavy fuels and diesel.

The power firm recorded a decline in profitability during the full-year ended June 30 citing high finance costs and a decline in net foreign exchange gains.

Its profit before tax (PBT) plunged   24 per cent to Sh6.42 billion from Sh8.5 billion last year.

Finance costs increased by 105 per cent to Sh2.49 billion from Sh1.21 billion while unrealised foreign gains from revaluation of loans and interest fell by Sh1.41 billion and Sh378 million respectively.

By James Anyanzwa, The Standard

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