Low dam levels in Kenya to cause potential tariff hike

Kenyans are at risk of facing increased electricity tariffs as primary power generation facilities have been warned of the critical dam levels.

Reports have indicated that electricity generating station at Masinga Dam, on the border of Embu and Machakos counties, may be forced to shut down in the next few weeks due to insufficient water resources.

The Ministry of Energy says water levels in the dam are too low to allow the continued generation of electricity at the station unless it starts raining soon.

To ensure reliable power supply, the country may be forced to use expensive diesel-generated power plants to make up for the shortfall, which will potentially see an increase in the tariff trickle down the Kenyans who are the end-users. Moreover, power costs have already gone up after the short rains of October-December failed.

The extra costs accrued on account of the same have since been passed on to consumers.
Energy Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge said the dam, which is the main reservoir for the Seven Forks hydroelectricity system, is fast getting to its minimum operating levels.

Consequently, this will lead to the shutting down of the Masinga power station and the water released to feed the other power stations downstream including Kamburu, Gitaru and Kiambere.

He further reiterated that the water levels are not good, especially in the Tana River catchment (area), and are just about to get to minimum operating level.

Furthermore, Masinga power station may be unable to generate but the stations downstream will continue generating. Mr. Njoroge expressed optimism that in the next three or so weeks, there will be rain. The rain will prevent the looming disruptions. However, lack of it wilI likely see some disruptions in the power grid, according to him.