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Rural electrification to connect 14,000 new clients in Western region to electricity grid

By Nyankieya Enock, Busia

Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC) is set to connect over 14,000 new customers to electricity grid in the West Kenya region by mid this year.

REREC Chief Executive Officer (Ceo) Rose Mukalama said the move is to enhance rural electrification to improve livelihoods and  to spur economic growth of the region.

This comes after the corporation launched its Strategic Plan late last year that aims to connect 1 million customers in rural areas through electrification of 15,000 public facilities and installation of 5,000 transformers and contribute 18.372MWp to the national grid.

Ms Mukalama says the corporation intends to complete the ongoing project by June, 2024.

Speaking during the commissioning of four rural electrification projects in Teso South, Busia County, Ms Mukalama said the four projects have connected 370 customers to the national grid.

“This commissioning marks a significant step towards enhancing access to electricity, bridging the energy gap in rural areas and promoting social economic development,” said Ms Mukalama.

Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC) CEO Dr. Rose Mkalama planting a tree planting at St. Paul Ketelenyang Secondary School in Teso South Constituency

The projects commissioned include Kacherere trading center, Kalachamong village, Kakoldong village and Kochek village.

The Western region which is composed of Bungoma, Kakamega, Busia, Siaya and Vihiga counties has a total of 245 ongoing projects funded by the exchequer at a cost of Sh1.29 billion.

In Busia, the government has initiated 56 electrification projects since the 2022-2023 Financial Year at a cost of Sh311 million to ensure sustainable access to electricity for over 3,517 customers at the grassroots level.

REREC Board Director Milton Lucheri highlighted the Matching Fund programme, an innovative participatory approach to financing projects where REREC collaborates with county governments and constituencies by contributing a shilling for every shilling given up to a maximum of Sh5 million per constituency.

Busia county and various constituencies in the county have contributed a total of Sh143.7 million under the Matching Fund between 2017 and 2023 attracting Sh122.5 million from REREC.

“The Corporation continues to implement projects countrywide aiming to enhance rural electrification in Kenya, improving livelihoods and contributing to the nation’s overall development,” said Mr Lucheri.

Speaking when he presided the inaugural Kakamega International Investment Conference at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (Mmust) last week, President William Ruto said the government has set aside Sh2.5 billion for connecting 40,000 homes in Kakamega county to electricity this year under the Last Mile intervention.

To support this, the Head of State said that in order to attract investors to Kakamega, construction of a Sh10 billion power transmission line is underway from Kibos in Kisumu to Kakamega with several sub-stations.

“We want to ensure we have reliable electricity in Kakamega. We are at the final stages of the project under the public-private partnership. This will stabilise power supply in the county and the region at large,” said Ruto

“We want to bring investments in our counties and make them a destination for investments. We are moving from being counties of immense potential by harnessing it,” he added.

“Once the households will be connected to power, Kakamega will achieve key programs like social lives of the rural communities, because the programs cuts across all sectors in health, education, health, agriculture and others,” said Mr Barasa.

“We are in the final stages of implementing the project before the end of this year,” he said, adding that it will give an opportunity to manufacturers and industries to carry out their activities without interruptions.

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa said the county is currently examining power distribution in every ward to come up with a report for the proper implementation of the rural electrification program.

“Once the households will be connected to power, Kakamega will achieve key programs like social lives of the rural communities, because the programs cuts across all sectors in health, education, health, agriculture and others,” said Mr Barasa.

He said the developing people in the smallest unit would also contribute to the economic development of the country and the GDP and commitment to working with MPs and MCAs to ensure that projects under this program are implemented efficiently and effectively.

The county chief asked beneficiaries to use the electricity to start economic activities that will generate income and not just use it for lighting purposes.

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