7th August 2018 Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter on Tuesday said the government will proceed with the construction of the Loyangalani-Suswa Transmission line despite a court case over land compensation.
Mr Keter, who was appearing before the National Assembly Committee on Energy, said the government risks paying a penalty of Sh1 billion monthly from September if it stops the construction of case involving a land dispute.
The Energy CS argued that the land—a two acre parcel—had been overvalued to Sh5 million per acre in area where the same portion goes for Sh200,000.
“We will proceed with the construction of the Loyangalani-Suswa Transmission line inspite of someone going to court. If you tell me to pay Sh10 million for a parcel of two acres of land. It is not right. How do you give a valuation of Sh5 million per acre of land which in reality is Sh200,000?” he told the committee chaired by Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria.
The committee had summoned the Cabinet Secretary and Kenya Energy Transmission Company (KETRACO) managing director Fernandes Barasa over the status of transmission lines under construction across the country.
Mr Keter said construction work on the Loyangalani-Suswa Transmission line was 84 per cent complete and assured Kenyans that it will be ready by the beginning of next month. The ministry, he said, had cushioned the government from paying the Sh1 billion penalty after agreeing with the contractor that they will take up the bill if they failed to complete work on schedule.
The line, which traverses five counties, is meant to evacuate 310 MW from the Turkana Wind Power project and link it to the national grid.
“We have done 84 per cent of the work and we have eight teams doing stringing. We are even using drones in areas which have not been cleared. We agreed with the contractor that if he fails to complete in time, he will pay the penalty of Sh1 billion. We are on schedule, though,” he said.
To facilitate the construction of the transmission line on the disputed site, the Cabinet Secretary said the Ministry of Interior Affairs and National Coordination will provide security to the workers.
“We have agreed with our colleagues at Interior Affairs to provide security on land sites where we have a dispute. To stop us from constructing the line and subject us to Sh1 billion penalty is not acceptable. We will build the line whatever the consequences. Definitely, the government will pay for the land, eventually,” he said.
Mr Keter told the committee that the ministry, through Ketraco, was undertaking a total of 16 transmission line projects, six of which were complete. Mombasa-Nairobi line, Nairobi Ring (Suswa-Isinya and substations) and Machakos-Konza-Kajiado-Namanga line were among those completed.
Responding to a petition Garsen residents through their MP Ali Wario asking KenGen to compensate flood victims downstream Tana River, the CS said even though the ministry sympathized with the victims for loss of lives and property, the energy generating firm was not liable for the disaster.
“As the Ministry of Energy and KenGen, we regret the loss of lives and property as stated in the petition. This occurrence was however beyond our control and outside our liability scope. It was natural act of God,” he said.
He said that at the time the matter raised in the petition took place in May, when the dams were not yet full. The water levels in Masinga Dam, he said was 1047 metres which was 10 metres below the dam’s maximum level of 1056.5 metres. “Therefore, the flooding downstream of Kiambere started before the dams were full,” he said.