One Man’s Quest for Electricity and How Solar Power Can be a Game Changer

Kenyans have been trapped in the dependency on electricity provided by the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC). People have been on the receiving end with its monopoly, but solar power comes as an unmatched competitor and a much better option.

One Man’s Quest for Electricity and How Solar Power Can be a Game Changer
Photo/ Courtesy

When building a house, you might want to consider electricity installation in the initial stages of planning. Mr. Olumasai, a field officer with One Acre Fund, did not give it much thought at first. This ended up costing him a lot of time and money.  

Mr. Olumasai’s Experience

Once settled in his own home, Mr. Olumasai foresaw a bright future for his family. But it has not been that bright. First, he had to go through the bureaucracy in the Kenya Power and Lighting Company. He and his neighbours were told that they were not in the grid, and that meant that they were to go into their pockets to convince the contractor to work things out. Luckily for them, they did not pay for the electricity posts. But they catered for the installation.

For the installation, they had to pay 15,000 Kenyan Shillings (It is normally 30,000, but this was during the rural electrification period) and since he and his neighbours could not come up with the whole amount at once, they were told to pay a deposit. The remaining amount was to be deducted every time they bought electricity tokens.

For the meter, Olumasai had to go to the KPLC office and apply and pay for one. It took time before he got his meter, and some of his neighbours have not gotten theirs up until now despite paying. He finally had electricity in his house but more challenges awaited him.

(Mr. Olumasai)

The Challenges

The amount that Mr. Olumasai paid to middlemen as bribe before and after the installation has cost him more than the 15, 000 itself.

It was in 2018 when he got electricity. He has been buying tokens ever since, and almost half of what he pays is deducted to cater for the remaining amount. But, he has never been sent a receipt stating the amount he has paid and the remaining balance. He probably will pay much more than the required amount.

Just the other day, the meter, which is just two years old, stopped functioning and he had to seek help. Of course, this cost him money and waiting time.

Last month Mr. Olumasai and his neighbours had to do away with electricity for two weeks. The residents were told that the transformer had serious issues, and they had to fork out money again even though the issue was just a minor one.  

Why Choose Solar Energy?  

Electricity is an important element in everyday life. But it is better when you are controlling it yourself. Solar energy gives you this power. You don’t have to rely on a company that much. Here are some of the benefits of solar power.

  • Free source of energy

Solar energy is free and you won’t worry when you don’t have money. It is readily available, it can be stored and no one can ration it.

  • Saves you money

This is one of the main reasons you should consider installing solar electricity in your home or business. You won’t pay for tokens or have to bribe middlemen to get things done. After purchase, you only pay for the installation.  Watch this video on how Café Deli's owner saves sh. 140,000 monthly; all thanks to solar energy.

  • Shields you from unnecessary power blackouts

Imagine you are in an interview or an important online meeting and the electricity goes out unexpectedly. It is never a good feeling. Businesses incur losses and reputations can easily be ruined by unexpected power blackouts. With this other alternative, even if the sun does not shine for a day, it can be stored, and when it’s almost exhausted you will know beforehand and plan your schedule.

  • Solar power is environment-friendly

It can be used instead of fossil fuels hence, it reduces the emission of greenhouse gases. It does not contribute to environmental destruction since no trees will be cut down to make poles.  

  • Greatly reduced causes of fires and death by electrocution

People have died due to electrocution and property has been destroyed by fires caused by electricity. This can be avoided. With energy from the sun, fires may only occur due to poor installation. This is very rare, so this alternative can save lives and property from destruction.

There quite a number of solar companies that are coming up. Solar power can be a great substitute for the supplied electricity. You use both alternately, especially if it’s in a business set-up.