Kenya’s demand for surges; Rising tariffs lead to expensive electricity bills
Kenya hit an all-time high after consuming more than 2,000 megawatts (MW) in the last quarter of 2021. However, higher rates and taxes also caused the price of electricity to jump by 15% in 2020-2021. Additionally, Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) sold 835 million kilowatt hours (KWh) in October 2021, the highest record sales for the firm. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), KPLC sold an average of 800 million KWh in the last four months of last year.
Expensive electricity bills
The 22.58% jump in electricity demand indicates that the East African country is on the road to economic recovery. The Covid hits have seen economic activity contract by 5.5% in the face of lockdowns. In light of curfews and tough policing, industries and businesses have been forced to scale back to survive the pandemic.
A steady rise in electricity prices over 40 months prompted a presidential directive to cut prices by 15%. While Jamhuri Day celebrations, the outgoing President ordered the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) to reduce the cost of electricity by 30% in two tranches. Despite the order, the Energy and Petroleum Authority (EPRA) raised the fuel costs caused by rising fuel prices. Subsequently, electricity bills in January 2022 increased by another 2%.
Kenya’s thirst for power
Over the years, KPLC has injected more electricity into the grid to meet the insatiable local demand for electricity. In addition, total electricity generated in Kenya last year increased by 6.0%. By the end of 2022, the power utility had connected more than 8 million Kenyans to the grid, up from 680,000 in 2003.
However, Kenya’s only electricity distributor has been tainted with bribes and illegal power connections. The parastatal has recorded an average loss of 22% over the past five years. According to the Auditor General, KPLC lost Ksh. 39 billion for the year 2021 due to technical and financial losses. What’s more, electricity bill inflation and manipulation of the system by KPLC personnel robs the company of billions in revenue each year.