The Government targets to connect about one million Kenyans to electricity in three weeks, according to Finance Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich’s second mini budget. Treasury had set a target of one million households by the end of the financial year under the connectivity subsidy programme, but with more money to spend, the CS has allocated additional funds to have the programme expanded to cover two million households by the end of this month. “The target is 1.5 million by June 30 and two million by December. I believe the additional amount is to ensure there is funding until December,” said a Kenya Power official who declined to be named.
However, under the Last Mile Project that was meant to offer households residing within 600 metres of the earmarked transformers a chance to be connected for as little as Sh15,000, the target has been scaled down . Last Mile will now see only 300,000 households get a connected to the national gird, down from 383,000, according to the second supplementary budget. The Jubilee Government’s race to connect more people has been shrouded in mystery over the exact number of Kenyans who have benefited from the initiative.
Kenya Power in the race to deliver the Government’s target of one million customers each year may have looped in poor people who may not afford to keep up with the monthly charges after reports indicated that close to a million metres had not vended for more than three months. The defaults have been blamed on idle metres handed over to developers by under pressure Kenya Power employees seeking to meet targets and poor customers who upon getting the metres have been unable to buy additional tokens. Once the charges accumulate, some users may be discouraged to even make an attempt at buying the tokens given the stima Loan debt is charged upfront. Kenya Power has a total of 5.8 million customers connected to the national grid, about 3.6 million of whom were added since 2013. The Government plans to spend almost Sh66.4 billion under the National Grid System Programme to connect more household and expand Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KeTRACO) and Kenya Power infrastructure. Under the revised budget, CS Rotich has allocated Sh20 billion for transmission lines, towers and stringing for Loyanglani-Suswa, Nairobi-Mombasa and Ethiopia Kenya Inter-connector.