Kenya Power, a state-owned power utility firm, has rolled out a smart metering project that aims to benefit 55,000 customers in the Small and Medium Enterprise(SME) sector across Kenya.
This KSh 1.25 Billion, World Bank-funded project, is part of the Kenya Electricity Modernisation Project planned to be complete by June 30th 2021.
These smart meters are part of an Advanced Metering Infrastructure that facilitates two-way communication between Kenya Power and the customer. This garget gives customers access to real-time information on their consumption patterns and billing, allowing access to their energy usage patters through an online customer portal.
In case of an outage, the smart meter can communicate directly with Kenya Power’s National Contact Centre, facilitating immediate resolution and enhancing efficiency as the company’s teams are alerted promptly.
Additionally, the smart meter also sends a notification to the customer via SMS.
Speaking during the launch, Kenya Power’s Managing Director and CEO, Bernard Ngugi said, “These combined benefits of error-free data, prompt network problem identification, and audit of energy consumption will go a long way in enhancing service delivery to our customers in the SME sector.”
The smart meter project aims to cover 20% of Kenya Power’s SME customers. The Company projects to have installed smart meters on all SMEs by the end of the 2023/2024 financial year.
“We believe that the advanced metering technology will further enhance customer satisfaction based on the visibility and prompt detection of power usage and also reduce technical losses which are key to ensuring reliable and quality supply of power,” said Ngugi.
Kenya Power is rolling out these smart electricity meters as the state-owned power distribution company strives to protect its revenues. This is especially so on payments that Kenya Power receives from sales to large and medium customers.
Kenya Power aims to ensure all users in the SME segment are systematically billed according to accurately metered consumption so that the firm can reduce non-technical losses.
According to details of this world bank funded project, Kenya Power aims to create one or more Metering Control Centers (MCCs) and invest in IT infrastructure needed to operate them.
Kenya Power will also incorporate state-of-the-art Meter Data Management software and staff training in the metre control centres on its proper use, supply, and installation.
The Electricity Modernization Project was approved by the World Bank Group Board of Executive Directors on March 31, 2015, to support the Government’s “last mile” goal of scaling up electricity access and providing better quality electricity services.
This electricity modernization project also aims to strengthen the financial position of Kenya Power to enable it to sustain its activities and facilitate new private investment to the energy sector.
The World Bank Group is contributing $457.5 million towards the project.
The financing also includes a credit of $250 million from the International Development Association (IDA), an IDA guarantee of $200 million, and a $7.5 million grant from the Strategic Climate Fund-Scaling up Renewable Energy Program.
Kenya Power owns and operates most of the electricity transmission and distribution system in the country. The company’s customer base stood at over 7.9 million as at the end of December 2020.
At the time of Project design in 2014, there was 4,300 advanced meter reading infrastructure (AMI) meters installed in the Kenya Power system.
Some 40,000 AMI were to be installed under the Project, increasing the total number of AMI installed to 44,300 by project closing. Kenya Power has, however, since then increased the number of AMIs to 16,000 using own resources.
Given that these meters have not been financed under the project, it is proposed to change the AMI baseline number from 4,300 to zero.