Kenya’s Increased Electricity Imports from Uganda Despite Heavy Rains in 2023

Kenya's Increased Electricity Imports from Uganda Despite Heavy Rains in 2023

Kenya historically relies on electricity imports from neighboring Uganda to meet its energy needs, ensuring energy security and managing local production fluctuations.

In January, Kenya saw an 18.4% increase in electricity imports from Uganda, indicating growing energy demands and challenges in local production.

In 2023, Kenya significantly increased electricity imports due to higher demand and slower investment in energy infrastructure.

Imports from Ethiopia and Uganda surged to 706.9 million kWh in the first 11 months of 2023, up from 288.27 million kWh in the same period in 2022. 

This rise was driven by factors like increased demand and reduced local hydropower production due to prolonged drought.

Ethiopia emerged as Kenya’s primary electricity supplier, surpassing Uganda, with the completion of the Ethiopia-Kenya interconnector line. 

This allowed Kenya to import cheaper hydropower from Ethiopia, reducing reliance on costly thermal plants.

The increased imports helped offset thermal plant reliance, aligning with Kenya’s goals for reliable, affordable, and environmentally friendly energy.

The cross-border power exchange among Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia is essential for the East African power pool, ensuring energy security and stability in the region by optimizing regional energy resources. 

This collaboration exemplifies the strategic importance of regional energy cooperation in guaranteeing a reliable power supply across East Africa.

Kenya experienced an 18.4% increase in electricity imports from Uganda in January, reaching 20 million units. 

This reflects a broader trend where imports from neighboring countries, primarily Ethiopia and Uganda, more than doubled in the first 11 months of 2023, totaling 706.9 million kWh compared to 288.27 million kWh in the same period in 2022. 

The completion of the 500kV Ethiopia-Kenya interconnector line has enabled Kenya to import cheaper hydropower from Ethiopia, reducing reliance on more expensive thermal plants.

Kenya is grappling with significant challenges stemming from heightened demand and diminished hydropower availability caused by prolonged drought conditions, impacting hydroelectricity production.

Although the country’s installed power generation capacity is approximately 3,078 MW, with an interconnected capacity of around 2,925 MW, the system’s peak demand averages 2,057 MW, while the average available capacity is 2,035 MW. 

This necessitates electricity imports to bridge the gap and ensure a stable power supply. Moreover, Kenya’s reliance on imports is a strategic measure to mitigate reliance on expensive thermal plants. 

The increase in imports, notably from Ethiopia facilitated by the new 500kV Ethiopia-Kenya interconnector line, has led to a 15 percent reduction in Kenya’s thermal plant generation.


Understanding Your KPLC Electricity Bills – A Comprehensive Guide

Kenya’s hydropower production has declined due to prolonged drought conditions, impacting water levels in dams essential for generation. 

This reduction significantly affects the country’s energy supply as hydropower is a key component of Kenya’s electricity generation.

Drought-induced water scarcity has significantly reduced hydropower output, affecting both the generation capacity of hydropower plants and the efficiency of water-dependent cooling systems in thermal power plants.

Kenya’s decreased hydropower output has led to increased reliance on electricity imports, notably from Ethiopia through the new interconnector line, making Ethiopia the primary supplier. 

While reducing the need for costly thermal plants lowers electricity costs, it also exposes Kenya to vulnerabilities associated with energy dependency.

Increased electricity imports in Kenya may raise costs for consumers and businesses, stabilizing supply and potentially reducing reliance on expensive thermal power. 

However, it also means funds are diverted abroad for imports, depriving Kenya of local investment opportunities.

A consistent electricity supply is vital for industries to function smoothly, ensuring uninterrupted operations essential for productivity and economic development. 

Power stability impacts all sectors, including manufacturing and services, playing a pivotal role in attracting investments and fostering growth.

Customers can conveniently manage their electricity accounts through the kplc self service portal, enhancing their overall experience with the utility provider.

Additionally, to pay their electricity bills easily, customers can use the kplc paybill number: 888880 provided by Kenya Power.

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