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Editorials

EDITORIAL: Tame high power bills

A KPLC employee inspects a meter box in Nairobi’s Mathare slums. PHOTO | HEZRON NJOROGE | NMG 

Revelations that electricity bills have hit a historic high do not bode well for Kenya’s competitiveness and this highlights the need for continued investments in cheaper green energy.

The price of electricity has over the past five years been going up due to increased tariffs to Kenya Power and reliance on expensive diesel generators, blunting Kenya’s competitive advantage compared to other nations in the region.

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Official data shows that electricity bills for homes that consumed 200 kilowatt hours (kWh) per month was Sh4,762 last month, up from Sh2,782 in April 2014.

This comes despite multi-billion shilling investments in cheaper geothermal and wind power, a pointer that supply of the inexpensive power has failed to match demand.

According to a recent World Bank report, the price of electricity is a leading factor in making Africa uncompetitive, relative to other emerging economies like India and China. Unless power prices are tamed significantly, it will be impossible for Kenya to compete favourably for foreign investors when it comes up against countries like Egypt. Yet, Kenya has acknowledged that manufacturing is the engine for economic success and offers the best hope for reducing youth unemployment.

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