Kenya Power Company (KPC) is targeting to connect electricity to thousands of homesteads especially in remote areas after adopting a new and cheaper technology.
The new system of supplying power will help the company reach out to homesteads which are far from conventional grid and located in areas hardly accessed.
The technology dubbed Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) is said to require low load at low cost and will go a long way in achieving government’s goal on provision of universal access to electricity.
Last Friday, KPC Murang’a branch manager Engineer Harrison Kamau led officers from the company to commission a pilot project under the new technology at Karaba village in Kigumo sub county.
Kamau noted that with the new technology, the company has been able to connect more than 115 homesteads in the locality which has been hard access due to its terrain.
He explained that SWER involves use of one cable to connect power unlike conventional grid system where more than two cables are being used.
“Here at Karaba village we have connected power to homes within a radius of 3.5 kilometres using a single cable, a project which costed about Sh12 million which is far much cheaper as compared to use of conventional grid,” noted the Engineer Kamau.
The new technology, he noted will reduce costs on power connection by more than a third and will assist the company to reach areas where they could not be have reached through use of conventional grid.
“With the new technology, we just need isolation transformer and then have a single cable which can go up to 80 kilometres,” he added.
The project done at Karaba village is a pilot one in the whole of Mount Kenya region and the company is doing survey to establish areas where the technology can be applied.
The Manager noted that the system is very safe to users but warned those who may think of vandalism saying the technology is highly guarded from any form of vandalism.
“As the system relies on the earthing system for the return current, it’s very important that the installed earthing is highly guarded against isolations or vandalism,” he added.
Kamau urged members of the public to safeguard the equipment and power infrastructure and desist from interfering with the network in anyway.
He decried increased vandalism of power equipment in some parts of the county saying the trend is posing challenges in achieving universal power connectivity.
“Theft of streetlights has been rampant in some parts of the county and we are working in partnership with security personnel to curb the crime. So far some individuals have been arraigned in court after they were nabbed vandalizing power infrastructure,” said Kamau.
Electricity power connectivity in the county, the Manager observed that currently stands at 51.1 percent and the company hopes to attain 100 percent by 2022.
“We have initiated several projects which are funded by the national government at a cost of Sh. 2 billion and we are determined by 2022 we will achieve 100 percent power connection in this county,” Kamau further noted.
Residents of Karaba village lauded the initiative by the Kenya Power together with their area MP Ruth Mwaniki for enabling them to get electricity connections.
By Bernard Munyao