An Electrifying Collaboration
The Government of Kenya’s Vision 2030 is an economic development blueprint program that aims to double Kenya’s rate of growth. TE Connectivity (TE) is partnering with Kenya Power on investments to improve the electricity services.
Timothy N.Mathenge, Sales Manager- East Africa, Energy
Over the past decade, Kenya’s economy has grown approximately 5.1% annually. While strong, the country’s future growth has been constrained by its insufficient supply of electricity. The lack is hampering the competitiveness of Kenya’s businesses and the capacity of the government to offer key services. In response, the country is pursuing opportunities to install more generation capacity. Between June 2014 and June 2015, its generation capacity grew from 1,885 MW to 2,299 MW (0.049 kW per capita).
Government agencies are tasked with implementing Vision 2030’s plan to build energy infrastructure and developing the power sector. These agencies include KENGEN (generation), KETRACO (transmission network), and Kenya Power (distribution and sales). To support this effort and partner with these agencies, TE Connectivity (TE) opened – in Nairobi, Kenya, in September 2013 – an East Africa office. Our team has been working closely with Kenya Power, by supporting its strategic initiative to expand Kenya’s power sector for the Vision 2030 plan, which includes investments in the electricity services industry for its installed base of generation capacity to 5,000MW by 2018 and to 18,000MW by 2030. For Kenya Power, this initiative involves four crucial elements: expanding the network, upgrading infrastructure, increasing distribution, and enabling growth.
Distribution System Expansion
Kenya Power is investing heavily to expand its network. Over the past year, it has added 16,552 kilometers of new medium and low voltage lines – both underground and overhead lines. TE has supported this initiative by competitively winning business to supply its high quality cable accessories and surge arrestors to be installed on the KPLC distribution system.
Distribution Upgrade and Reinforcement
A crucial part of the initiative calls for reinforcing Kenya Power’s sub-stations as well as completing extensive maintenance on its lines and prioritizing upgrades of lines for key customers and high growth areas. With TE’s help, Kenya Power has replaced poor performing products on its network with high quality range of products from TE Connectivity.
One of Kenya Power’s notable achievement – between 2014 and 2015 – was its success in connecting 843,899 new customers, which represents an unprecedented increase for the company. By late 2015, the company served more than 3.6 million customers. This rapid growth consequently increased Kenya’s electricity connectivity access rate to 47%. TE helped spark this growth by meeting its delivery commitments to ensure availability of products used to support the high growth in connectivity.
Last-Mile Connectivity Project
The biggest challenge of extending the power supply network – which includes bringing electrification to Kenya’s rural and low income areas – is cost. Through an effort called the Last-Mile Connectivity Project, Kenya Power aims to increase electricity access to the country’s rural and peri-urban areas. The expectation is that electrification will help accelerate economic growth at the micro-economic level, which is expected to subsequently provide customers with a better quality of life. TE’s East Africa team through the local distribution network has made TE products locally available for the contractor’s market segment involved in this project.
Advancing this project requires collaboration. As Kenya Power’s strategic partner, our East Africa team had developed and offered services that have proven useful to helping the power company implement its Vision 2030 initiatives:
Training and Workshops
TE provides advanced workshops – to Kenya Power staff – on installing medium-voltage cable accessories, surge arrestors, and low-voltage Aerial Bundled Conductor accessories. This training provides practical knowledge that goes beyond the theoretical, with workshops offering field installation demonstrations. We are currently developing training program in high-voltage cable accessories -132KV. The continuance and evolution of this program demonstrates our confidence in Kenya Power’s capabilities and the value of this strong partnership.
In leveraging TE’s extensive experience, expertise, and solutions for medium-voltage cables engineered to meet strict international standards, Kenya Power has improved its product specifications to meet world class standards. Before working with TE, Kenya Power incurred problems from using poor-quality supply and installation products. The result caused frequent power-outages and losses across its network. Since signing a three-year contract for TE’s medium voltage surge arrestors, Kenya Power has gained customer confidence: TE’s products are enabling the utility to meet world-class power standards.
Using low-quality products results in high replacement costs and significant revenue losses over time. For example, low-quality surge arrestors not only fail to appropriately protect distribution transformers, these also cause power loss. The results is significant levels of customer minutes lost (CML), which in turn causes a high volume of customer complaints and significant revenue losses. By improving performance specification and installing TE products across their network, Kenya Power has dramatically reduced operational damage to its expensive capital items – such as transformers, medium-voltage and high-voltage power cables – and improved its distribution system, which has enabled it to increase customer satisfaction.
In supporting this strategic initiative, TE has helped Kenya Power improve its power reliability, reduce power losses, and increase its revenue base. These deliverables are enabling it to make significant progress in supporting the Government of Kenya’s Vision 2030 plan.