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Connectivity In Narok At 84.9% As Last Mile Lights Up Rural Homes

Some 6,993 homes in Narok county have been connected to the power grid through the Last Mile connectivity programme since April 2016 when the first phase of the project was launched.

The Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) Central Rift branch manager, George Njoroge, said the number represents 84.9 per cent of the 8,227 homes targeted for connection with affordable power.

Mr Njoroge, who was speaking during a County Development, Implementation Coordination Committee (CDICC) meeting in Narok, said his team has some 212 transformers with which to light up homes in rural areas of Narok county.

“In Narok, all the 8,227 customers are required to be within a radius of 600 metres from a transformer because a transformer’s capacity cannot serve beyond the 600 metres radius,” he said.

Unlike before when customers were required to pay a Sh35,000 lumpsum for power connection, clients through the Last mile programme pay only Sh15,000 with options for instalment or a loan facility.

“We expect to finish the remaining 1,234 homes in the next few months as we continue to identify others who need to be connected in future,” Njoroge said.

Njoroge added that the entire programme in the county is on course and that KPLC is working with the government to ensure every rural home in Kenya has electricity.    

“Whereas Kenyans used to make applications with long procedures in the past, now KPLC and the Rural Electrification Authority officials will come knocking on doors asking Kenyans to allow them to connect their households to electricity,” he said, adding that it is also aimed at maximising the useage of existing transformers.

The first Phase of the project was targeted at benefitting approximately 314,200 non-commercial customers (households) resulting in electricity access to an additional 1.5 million Kenyans.

Financed by the Government of Kenya and African Development Bank (AFDB) at a cost of Sh13.5 billion, this phase involved extension of the low voltage network to reach households located within 600 metres of a transformer.

Usage of existing distribution transformers, which stood at 5,320 nationally at the time of the launch of the first phase in 2016, would be maximised to reach an estimated 314,200 households across the 47 counties.

In the second and third phases, additional transformers would be installed to increase the customer connection by 500,000 nationally.

Today, only 15 per cent of Kenyan house-holds in rural area use electricity for lighting and hence the need to increase this coverage. A further 42 per cent of the population in urban areas uses electricity for lighting which is still low.

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