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Ethiopia - Kenya power line to cost KES 63B

24 June 2013, 18:01 James Kabotia

The Kenyan Government hopes to reduce power deficit in the country by importing electricity from Ethiopia through construction of a 612-kilometre power line to Suswa sub-station.

The line willbe able to inject 2 000 megawatts of power which is more than what is already in the national grid.

Construction is set to begin in December and end in two years time.

The World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB) and French Development Agency are funding the project to the tune of USD762 million (KES 63 billion).

According to a technical manager at Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) Samson Akuto, details of specific points where the towers would be positioned will be established once the contractor is on site.

Akuto said that they are yet to advertise for tenders for the work saying that they still have about four months to consult before the works begin.

The firm has already set aside KES 400 million this year to compensate for properties lying on its route.

However, a section of ranchers and some community group conservancies in Laikipia County on Saturday failed to take a common stand in opposing the power line project.

Cracks emerged when a section of them walked out of a consultative meeting organized by National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) in Nanyuki town.

The meeting chaired by Laikipia County commissioner Wycliffe Ogallo was to discuss the environmental impact assessment report and recommend any changes before NEMA approves it.

Those who remained behind said their major concern was the rate at which they would be compensated in case the power line passed within the view of their eco-lodges which generate a lot of income to them.

NEMA’s Deputy Director for compliance Zephaniah Ouma said the County commissioner’s office has 14 days to compile proposed changes to the report before it is handed over to him.

Laikipia Wildlife Forum wants the power line re-routed out of the County so that it would not interfere with ecosystems that support the multi-million shilling eco-tourism business.

However, KETRACO was categorical that it would not consider re-routing the line because of the cost it had already incurred in survey and consultancy services.

“The study of this route has taken five years and changing it would be costly," Mildred Ogendo said.

Ogendo also warned that re-routing the line would have ripple social effect whereby other communities would oppose it too.

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