Utility Firm, Kenya Power Moves to Enhance Country’s Northern Communication Systems with New Power Transmission Line

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Utility Firm, Kenya Power has said that its new power transmission line will enhance communication in Northern Kenya, as the network will carry a fiber optic cable.

The company was speaking in regard to the country’s famous Loiyangalani–Suswa High Voltage Power Line, a high voltage electricity power line under construction in Kenya, connecting a high voltage substation at Loiyangalani, in Kenya’s Marsabit County, to another high voltage substation at a place called Suswa, in Narok County.

“The 400 kilovolt (KV) Loiyangalani-Suswa power transmission line will be a real game changer,” Kenya Power said in a statement issued this week.

“Not only will the line carry up to 1,200 megawatts (MW), but it will also enhance communication in Northern Kenya as it carries a fiber optic cable for the entire 434 kilometers of the line,” the firm added.

Spanish company, Isolux Ingeniera SA won the contract to construct the power line in 2011. Due to a prolonged land acquisition process, work did not actually start until November 2015.

Sixteen months into construction, on a project allocated 24 months, the parent company of the main contractor, Isolux Corsán, ran out of money and filed bankruptcy in Spain. In August 2017, Ketraco terminated the contract with Isolux, with about 30% of the work completed.

However, in February 2018, Kenya’s government, through limited liability firm, Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO), contracted a consortium of Chinese firms at a cost of US$96 million, to complete the work left pending by Isolux.

In September 2018, it was reported that construction of the power station was complete and was awaiting testing and commissioning.

Kenya’s Northern region is expansive, bus mostly under-exploited. The region is known for its sometimes-harsh climate and lack of adequate infrastructure. Its road network is underdeveloped and parts of the region are sparsely populated.

Kenya’s government believes that providing the region with power will not only spur development but encourage more investors to branch into the area.

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