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14,500 households to get electricity in Mt. Kenya – Kenya News Agency

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The Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC) is targeting to connect more than 14,500 households drawn from the Mt. Kenya region with electricity.

In an ambitious programme, the REREC will use Sh2.1 billion to increase power connections not only to households but also to public facilities, including schools, hospitals, and markets.

On Saturday, speaking when he launched the Rugongo Ruraya power project in Kigumo sub-county, REREC Director Mark Nderitu said the counties slated to benefit from the programme include Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Kiambu, Nyeri, Embu, Meru, Isiolo, Tharaka Nithi, and Marsabit.

In Murang’a, he said, more than 6, 000 households in rural areas are set to be connected to electricity in the drive.

“Sh434 million will be used in Murang’a County, where 87 power projects are being implemented to attain last-mile electricity connections.

“The projects are at various stages of completion, and by next financial year, all the slated 6, 000 households will be connected to electricity,” said Nderitu.

The director underscored the government’s commitment to attaining 100 per cent power connection in the near future.

Electricity, he noted, will spur social and economic development in rural areas, saying education will benefit as students will get more time for studies.

“The power connection will go a long way in improving people’s lives, especially those in rural areas. Access to electric power at markets, hospitals, and other social amenities will increase working hours,” he added.

Nderitu continued, “Residents will now be able to make use of technology and fit their homes with appliances that will make their lives easier, and children will no longer depend on kerosene lamps to do their homework.”

On the Rugongo Ruraya power project, which serves residents in tea-growing areas of Kigumo, the director revealed that 785 households are set to be connected.

“In the first phase of this Kigumo project, 270 households will get connected, and in the second phase, slated to commence next financial year, 515 homes will be linked to electric power,” he remarked.

Tea farmers, the director added, will benefit hugely from the power connection as they were unable to sell their green leaf at night, thus incurring huge losses.

“Tea farmers from this region were unable to sell their produce at the tea buying centre at night and would lose kilos, but with power, they can sell their tea at any time. The installation of electricity has transformed their lives,” he stated.

Nderitu urged various development partners, including the National-Government Constituency Development Fund (NGCDF) and county governments, to allocate funds and support electrification programmes to accelerate rural electrification in priority areas.

Meanwhile, Nderitu decried increased vandals of power infrastructure, saying they have been a major setback to the government’s bid to improve power connectivity in the last few years.

“Sometimes, we launch a project, and in a week, vandals come in and steal the cables and poles. Luckily, police units have been set up in various areas to stem the vandalism, and we appeal to members of the public to guard the infrastructure as their own assets because they suffer the most when it is vandalised,” said the director.

Kigumo MP Joseph Munyoro, who accompanied the REREC director, lauded the government for increasing funds for rural electrification.

Munyoro said with power connections, the economy of rural areas is set to grow, saying some people were unable to invest in projects that needed electricity and power supply.

“This project is very crucial as it will increase economic activities in rural areas. Farmers, school-going children, and business people are the biggest beneficiaries.

“My appeal to REREC is to also consider installing power metres without waiting for the Kenya Power Company to do so. Let’s partner and install the metres without much delay.” Added the lawmaker.

By Bernard Munyao

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