NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Consumers in Kenya are bracing for
higher electricity tariffs following failed rains in the
October-December 2016 season that saw water levels in hydropower
generation dams fall considerably.
The tariffs, which
rose in December last year, are expected to sustain the upward
trend as the Meteorological Department forecasts that dry
weather conditions will prevail in most parts of the country in
the coming months.
"The average retail tariffs slightly increased in December
due to increase in fuel cost charge occasioned by a rise in
petrol thermal power in the energy mix by three percent.
"This was mainly due to low water levels at Sondu-Miriu and
Seven Forks dams necessitating running of petrol based thermal
power plants to cover the short-fall," said the Energy
Regulatory Commission in a statement Friday.
Kenya in 2015 injected 280 megawatts (MW) of cheaper
geothermal energy to the national grid, pushing up installed
capacity from 1,765 MW in June 2013 to 2,327 MW in December
The increase had reduced the country’s reliance on expensive
diesel generators, shifting the energy mix from 53 percent
hydro, 25 percent thermal and 20 percent geothermal in 2013 to
41 percent hydro, 13 percent thermal and 40 percent geothermal
The low level of water in hydropower plants has, however,
affected generation from the source, prompting increased
production from expensive thermal sources.
Last month, households that consumed 200 kilowatt hour (kWh)
paid 34 U.S. dollars compared to 31 dollars in December 2012.
Fixed charge for domestic consumers during the month rose to
1.5 dollars from 1.2 dollars while the energy charge per kWh for
those consuming above 50 units increased to 0.13 dollars from
Analysts say a rise in electricity tariffs adds burden to
consumers and sets them up for higher inflation, which now
stands at 6.4 percent.
Already, Kenyans in the capital Nairobi and other urban
centers are experiencing water shortages due to falling water
levels in dams.
"Life is becoming tougher each day, the cost of transport,
food items and education has gone up making things harder for
people with large families like us.
"Last month I paid a bill of 40 dollars from 25 that I
"While I blamed it on my five children who were home for
holiday, it is now clear the higher tariffs were the major
cause," banker Emmanuel Makuno, a Nairobi resident, said Friday.
The Ministry of Energy, however, has allayed fears of a rise
in power tariffs in the coming months, saying the government is
keen on lowering the tariffs.
Nairobi residents face short term water rationing during dry