Cheap, reliable and adequate power supply are not terms that describe lone power supply provider Kenya Power and lighting Company. As a matter of fact, Kenyans have been outright on this one, giving the company satirical titles describing the company’s mediocrity in services.
Frequent power blackouts, power rationing due to energy inadequacy, inflated power tariffs and incompetent customer care is a Kenyan’s perfect description of the power supply company. Being a monopoly industry, the rage towards the firm is expected being as a result of the company’s struggle to satisfy demand and also laxity on the company’s side due to lack of competition.
Power Hive East Africa might be the saving grace Kenyans have been waiting for after a long plea of a bill to oversee competition in the power supply sector. The technology venture that provides access to productive, affordable and reliable microgrid electricity for millions of rural homes and business around the globe is the first private company in Kenya’s history to receive a utility concession to generate, distribute and sell electricity to the Kenyan public.
The wholly owned subsidiary of US microgrid solutions provider Power hive Inc has began rolling out power operations in Kisii and Nyamira counties in western Kenya, directly to hundreds of rural communities that are beyond the reach of the national grid.
Powerhive was granted the concession as a result of more than two years successfully operating microgrid pilot projects powered by 100% renewable energy in four villages in Kisii, Kenya. The pilot projects serve approximately 1,500 people and have played a critical role in creating new businesses, enabling the use of productive appliances, powering schools, and displacing kerosene and diesel, which emit toxic pollutants.
The Powerhive permit was granted in recognition of the fact that grid expansion is not always the most economical choice to expand energy access owing to the fact that off-grid alternatives also have a role to play. The Kenya Energy Regulatory Commission has given the go-ahead to reflect the beginning a global transformation in the energy sector.
Historically, governments have pursued rural electrification almost exclusively through major public investments in grid expansion. Through its distributed energy delivery solutions, Powerhive aims to complement such government and utility efforts by focusing on areas that are too costly for grid extension. Powerhive East Africa’s concession, and the resulting deployment of microgrid projects, will set the stage for rapid global expansion and support Kenya’s goal of electrifying 100% of the population by 2030.
The move comes at a time sole energy provider Kengen responsible for the production of 80 per cent of the power consumed in the country is seeking alternative energy sources including geothermal and wind to boost the national grid.
Rural areas being the most affected regions in the country will be the first beneficiaries of the services by Powerhive hence a better economy since citizens from the regions will fully execute their projects and businesses going forward.