There is some good news for electricity users in Kenya. The majority of the consumers have been crying and wailing about the monopoly of the loss-making Kenya Power and Lighting Company. It is as though Kenya Power is out to milk Kenyans dry.
News that Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) will begin selling power directly to customers is the best news ever, coming at a time Kenyans are complaining of Kenya Power having reduced the amount of token by at least 30 percent.
KenGen says it will begin selling power directly to customers as soon as regulations are ready to enforce the Energy Act ending the close 100 years of electricity distribution monopoly held by Kenya Power. The Act was signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta in March 2019 paving the way for companies to apply for a retail license to distribute electricity.
KenGen Managing Director Rebecca Miano said the firm is keen on selling power directly to the large power consumers as soon as the regulations are finalized. “The Energy Act 2019 has provision for us to sell power directly especially to large consumers,” said Ms. Miano.
She added that what is pending are the regulations of how they would be undertaken and how the infrastructure would be based. They are certain that when the regulations are ready, the possibility will be there.
The firm’s target on the large customers which account for over half of Kenya Power’s electricity sales revenue may present a future challenge for Kenya Power now facing huge financial constraints
The Energy Act states that the distribution lines will remain the property of Kenya Power even after a licensee pays fees to the utility firm to use the infrastructure. Regulations that would guide how much one would pay to use the Kenya Power distribution infrastructure are yet to be developed.
The law under Section 140 compels Kenya Power to provide non-discriminatory open access to its distribution system for use by any licensee, retailer, or eligible consumer but is silent on what charges should be levied for such access.
The law also specifies that the distribution lines will remain property of Kenya Power even after a licensee pays fees to the firm to use the infrastructure.
The Ministry of Energy, which is expected to champion the development of the regulations, has however maintained that though the law has provided for an alternative distributor of electricity, the new distributors would require investments in infrastructure.
The Ministry of Energy, however, insists that new power distributors would be required to purchase infrastructure that may be unfavorable in areas already being supplied.
For KenGen to fully realize the plan they will need a distribution license and rely majorly on the network built by the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO).
“The electricity distribution market in Kenya is currently open to any player as long as they meet the licensing requirements as outlined by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) and are in line with the provisions of the Energy Act 2019.