Slum Electrification Project

By Joseph Muturi, Muungano



Kenya Power, Kenya’s only power distributor continues to spread the urban and rural electrification project to informal settlements in major cities in the country. The firm targets to connect 67,000 households in slums countrywide. This project is out of a partnership with the World Bank and the Global Partnership Output Based Aid.

The power distributor expects reimbursement of $15 million (Sh1.5 billion) from the World Bank and the Global Partnership Output Based Aid (GPOBA) for its investment in slums. However, this is pegged to the number of connections the company will make in these areas.

On average The World Bank and GPOBA have pledged to reimburse about $225 (Sh22, 351) for every customer connected. The World Bank will provide $150 (Sh14, 901) while GPOBA give $75 (Sh7, 450) for every connected customer.

Kenya Power would connect slum dwellers to the national grid at a subsidized rate of Sh1, 760 for domestic use and Sh2, 740 for commercial use down from Sh35, 000 paid for regular connections. The slum electrification project has also been initiated in Nairobi’s Kibera and Mukuru slums, Thika, Nakuru and Kisumu would improve the lives of residents of informal settlements.

Community Organizing

Muungano wa Wanavijiji (Federation of Slum Dwellers of Kenya), is holding discussions with both the World Bank and Kenya Power on mobilizing and organizing slum dwellers in Key informal settlements in the capital, Nairobi in readiness of the project roll out in informal settlements.

Electric Metering will be based on the pre-paid tariff so that they can pay on a day-to-day basis. One could spend as little as Sh100. The project intends to reduce slum dwellers’ dependence on kerosene whose price has increased because of high global fuel prices. “Our children cannot do homework at night because the little paraffin available is used for cooking,” said Doris Moseti, a resident in Mukuru Kwa Reuben slum in Nairobi. “We sometimes force them to wind up their homework at school before coming back home.” The power is also expected to boost economic activities within the slums.

Infrastructure Set Up

The project would make use of permanent concrete poles instead wooden ones, whose life span is about 20 years. Special insulated wires have been imported for the project, providing more safety for the areas. Transformers used in the project would be smaller than regular ones and placed above the electric wires to prevent vandalism. Each is expected to serve between 10 to 30 households.

The large number of transformers to be installed in the slums under the project would take care of future increase in demand for electricity in the slums. Kenya Power would provide special staff in the slums to inspect and educate the residents on dangers created by illegal electricity connections such as fatal accidents and destruction of property through fires. Illegal connections are a common scene in the informal settlements and are risk to the lives of the slum population because they are done underground or through unconventional overpass power way leaves. This has led to fatal accidents especially involving children and animals.