Kenya Power has announced plans to invest and implement a Sh13 billion underground cabling power network project aiming to improve the quality of electricity supply in Nairobi.
The underground cabling project is expected to reinforce the Nairobi City Centre’s bulk power supply system by providing an alternative supply to existing substations.
The move, according to Kenya Power Managing Director and CEO Dr. Ben Chumo, seeks to create a reliable network around the City, thereby improving flexibility of the existing system while reducing downtime.
“The project entails installation of underground cables around the City to eliminate interruptions that often result from interference with the overhead cables. This is envisaged to improve supply quality to our customers around Nairobi,” said Dr. Chumo.
He said close to 30.71 kilometers of 66kV transmission lines in underground cables would be connected to the new substation that will be set up at the City Centre.
This will provide a link between the new substation and six other existing substations around the City to expand the distribution network and reduce system losses. In addition to the City Centre substations, the project will also involve construction of two other substations.
“The underground cabling technology is more aesthetic compared to overhead lines and less expensive in terms of land acquisition challenges and wayleaves requirement,” explained Dr. Chumo.
Underground cabling is part of Kenya Power’s strategy to improve the quality of power supply countrywide through refurbishment of the existing network and building of additional lines and new substations.
This is expected to enhance flexibility in the network and enable it to adequately serve both existing and new customers that will be connected through ongoing electrification programmes.
Data from the firm indicates that between June 2013 and September 2016, Kenya Power’s customer base increased to 5 million up from 2.3 million consumers, calling for adequate investment in the network to serve the skyrocketing figure.
During that period, Kenya Power constructed and upgraded 81 substations and built 11,718 kilometers of new medium voltage lines to expand the distribution network and improve the quality of electricity supply.
Increased investment in the distribution network has reduced the power supply interruption incidences per 1,000 from 9.2 in 2014 to 6.4 in 2016.
The underground cabling project is being implemented through a concessional twenty year loan, charged at a 2 per cent interest rate with a grace period of 7 years and repayment term of 13 years from China Exim Bank.
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