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Kenya to Allow Private Firms to Import Electricity for Local Resale

Kenya’s electricity distribution sector is set for a significant transformation as the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) announces plans to permit private firms to import electricity from neighboring countries for resale within Kenya. This move is aimed at introducing competition into the market, challenging Kenya Power’s dominance, and improving service delivery to consumers.

Under the proposed regulations, private firms entering the distribution market will have the authority to import electricity for resale to consumers or for export to neighboring nations. By expanding the options for power distributors, Epra hopes to drive competition, leading to potential reductions in wholesale tariffs and ultimately lowering costs for consumers.

Presently, Kenya Power holds exclusive rights to sign electricity import agreements with foreign producers, primarily sourcing from Ethiopia Electric Power and the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited. However, the proposed regulations will open up opportunities for new entrants to explore alternative energy sources.

While Ethiopia and Uganda remain key exporters of hydroelectricity to Kenya, the proposed licensing framework will enable firms to diversify the energy mix by tapping into additional sources. Notably, firms will be subject to regulatory approval for consumer tariffs, ensuring transparency and fairness in pricing, similar to Kenya Power’s tariff review process overseen by Epra.

The draft regulations represent a significant step towards breaking Kenya Power’s monopoly in the sector, as outlined in recently published energy regulations aimed at fostering a competitive electricity market. New entrants into the distribution space will leverage existing infrastructure, including Kenya Power and Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) networks, facilitating seamless integration into the market.

However, challenges lie ahead, with new entrants expected to pay wheeling charges for utilizing existing transmission systems. Regulatory compliance and adherence to licensing requirements will be critical for firms navigating this evolving market landscape.

As Kenya progresses towards a more dynamic and resilient energy sector, the entrance of private firms into the distribution space heralds a new era of competition, innovation, and affordability for consumers. With a renewed focus on sustainability and efficiency, Kenya’s energy future appears poised for transformation.

photo source: Google

By: Montel Kamau

Serrari Financial Analyst

2nd April, 2024

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