The last mile connectivity project is an initiative by the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and implemented by the Kenya Power and Lighting Company aiming to ensure affordable electricity connections to households and achieving over 70% connectivity by 2017 and universal access by 2020. The methodology approach in the first phase of the initiative, funded by the AfDB and GoK is to maximize the existing 5,320 earmarked distribution transformers in all the 47 counties. All customers within reach of 600m from these transformers will be connected in this phase.
The project is funded jointly by the Government of Kenya, AfDB bank and the World Bank. JICA has shown interest in supporting the project. The potential customers will be connected at a cost of Ksh 15,000 one off fee or an option to pay in installments which is paid alongside their
monthly bills for a period of 36 months. This project is aimed to fostering the livelihood of Kenyans by increased economic activities from the utilization of electric power.
The Benefits of the Last Mile Connection Project
Electricity availability is a very important ingredient in Agriculture. With electricity availability, farmers can achieve cooling for their fish, meat and milk among other products. This will not only boost production but also promote good health. Small farmers can use the electricity for irrigation by buying electrical pumps and this will boost their produce.
There is a positive correlation between electricity connectivity and security. Majority of crimes in the county occur in darkness. With electricity providing lighting, there will be a significant reduction in crime levels. This can lead to increased business hours and by extension better conditions for both businessmen and the populace.
The fact that those being connected never needed electricity is wrong because citizens not connected to electricity are known to buy small solar kits, generators and accumulators just for lighting, charging their mobile phones, listening to radio and watching TV. Those connected voluntarily enter into contracts with the Kenya Power and commit to pay either upfront or through instalments for a period of 3 years. The connections will go a long way in making the flow of information in the country easy. Many Kenyans will be able to charge their mobile phones, watch TV and listen to Radio making them able to follow developments in the country and around the world.
The cost incurred by the consumer in the project is KES. 15,000. However Kenya power will collect it in instalments to those who are not able to pay a lump sum amount. That customers must pay KES. 1000 is not accurate. Kenya Power will deduct the loan depending on the payment submitted.
MoEP officials have visited the schemes and the progress is promising. More than 70% of the connections are paying up.
The fact that there are people who want to be connected but can not be connected is missing the point that the project is being implemented in phases. There will be more phases to follow this first phase.
In the current Power Generation and Transmission master plan, the number of connections have a big impact on peak demand which is a key indicator of the electricity consumption rate. The peak demand in 2014 was 1468MW, 2015 was 1560MW and the latest in 2016 is 1620MW. This shows a significant rise in consumption. The increased
The last mile connectivity project will eliminate the negative health effects from indoor air pollution and fire accidents that emanate from the use of conventional alternatives such as candles and kerosene lamps.
Education is the right of all children in Kenya. School going children will benefit from the Last Mile Connectivity Project by studying and doing their assignments after dusk. This will lead to better grades, better jobs and a generally better quality of life for them.
Electricity is the right of every Kenyan regardless of the economic status. Stating that people in grass thatched houses don’t require electricity is biased. The connections to temporary structures is through end- boards which have the necessary safety features and approvals by the relevant regulatory bodies like Kenya Beaureu of Standards (KEBS) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Development has to be equitably distributed among all economic classes. Electricity is also an input factor to a large set of activities that can improve welfare and increase productivity. Small and medium businesses are coming up in the rural areas as a result of the last Mile Connectivity Project. It is a crucial input to achieving several of Sustainable Development Goals.
The ministry of industrialization is doing a lot in ensuring there are industries coming up all over the country to consume the power that will be generated from various projects underway. Other flagship projects like SGR, Konza Tecnocity, Meru steel smelting plant will boost demand in the long run.
All these benefits of electricity connectivity will create many employment opportunities and improve the living standards of Kenyans.
The project has great socioeconomic impacts to the livelihood of Kenyans. The citizens are embracing the project and more are seeking to be connected.