The government has been forced to switch on diesel-fired plants. This is as a result of hydro water levels declining. The move could trigger huge power bills to accumulate forcing the electricity consumer to pay more since diesel-generated power that is reserved for use in dry seasons is very costly. KPLC buys buys electrical from thermal producers at an average cost of 19.24 shillings per power unit.
This rate is eight times more costly than hydro generated power which goes for 3 shillings per unit and thrice the price of geothermal power which goes for 8 shillings per unit. Speaking on Wednesday during a tour of the Sondu-Miriu hydroelectric power plant, Energy CS Charles Keter said that, “We have been forced to use diesel power plant in Muhoroni to supplement the power shortage being experienced in the Western region.”
The CS further indicated that the dry spell has also affected the Seven Fork power plant in Embu which is also not performing very well. The prolonged drought could force the government to shut down the power station that relies on Masinga Dam. Masinga power station produces 40 megawatts and is part of the crucial Seven Fork hydroelectricity systems in Embu that the country relies on for provision of cheap power.
The Cabinet Secretary added that the government will award the tender for completion of the geothermal line from Bomet to Narok by the next two coming weeks. The completion will help in the evacuation of Geothermal power from Olkaria which will be vital in times of dry spells. He also sought to allay fears of expensive power, saying that the long rains of between March and May are expected to start in the next two weeks hence boosting the country’s hydroelectric power generation. We will have to wait and see the levels of the coming long rains from next month that could possibly ease the burden of the consumer by reducing electricity bills that are already hiked as it is.