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Kisumu: KenGen invests Sh70million in community projects

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has invested Sh70 million to support community projects in the Sondu area of Kisumu County.

KenGen Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Engineer Peter Njenga said the investment in education, environment, water, and sanitation targets to improve the wellbeing of the community in the area, which is home to the Sondu-Miriu hydropower project.

The company, he said, has sponsored secondary school students with an amount totaling Sh850, 000 over the last two years, with additional scholarships offered to university students to boost access to education in the area.

Njenga added that the company has ensured consistent access to safe water for the community through the installation of water points, boreholes, and water pumps.

In his submission to the National Assembly Implementation Committee, which visited the Sondu Miriu project to check on the implementation of the house’s resolutions following a public petition, Njenga said even though some of the pumps have failed, measures have been taken to restore water supply to the community.

“We are in the process of restoring the collapsed water projects. In the next two or three months, they will be up and running,” he said.

The company, he told the committee, was considering replacing the old pumps with modern electrical pumps to ensure that the community receives water round-the-clock.

So far, he said the company has spent over Sh5 million on water projects in the area, supporting bereaved families with portable water twice a week.

On the environment, the firm, he added, has spent Sh5.3 million on tree planting to enhance ecological balance in the area.

Other projects, he said, include the enhancement of road infrastructure at a cost of Sh 58 million, which has enhanced connectivity and benefited approximately 10, 000 people.

In the petition, the community accused the power generator of neglecting the projects, including the intake area, which was consumed by hippo grass, blocking them from accessing the water and fishing.

Some of the households in the area, they said, lacked electricity despite being home to the Sondu-Miriu hydropower generation plant.

The CEO told the committee that KenGen was in talks with other agencies, among them Kenya Power and the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC), to find out ways of connecting the affected homes.

Desiltation and clearance of hippo grass at the intake, he said, were on course, with phase one almost completed.

KenGen, he added, would continue to roll out more projects in consultation with the community to ensure that they reap benefits from the Sondu-Miriu Plant.

“We have had a long-standing partnership since this project was incepted in 1989, and we will continue. We understand the benefits the country is getting from this hydropower, which is very stable,” he said.

Committee Chairman Raphael Wanjala said the visit aims to check on the progress the agency has made in implementing the resolutions passed by parliament after considering the petition.

The committee, he added, was impressed by the progress made so far since the resolutions were passed in June last year.

“We understand that some of the projects may take a bit of time, but we are here to find out from the management of KenGen when they plan to have all the resolutions passed by parliament implemented,” he said.

By Chris Mahandara

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