Kenya Power has launched a Sh340 million live line laboratory where it will test equipment including trucks, insulating blankets, link sticks and a line hose tester in a bid to tame blackouts and save the utility company from revenue losses.
Kenya Power Acting Managing Director Geoffrey Muli said that the laboratory will be used to test and certify equipment that are used in the Live Line Maintenance Programme.
The test centre is part of a Sh2 billion funding from the World Bank with the rest of the money used to buy insulated trucks, live line tools and train the staff across its eight regions.
“The Live Line Laboratory we are launching today was constructed to test Live Line work tools and equipment such as gloves, trucks, and link sticks among others, to ensure safety to users,” Kenya Power Acting Managing Director Geoffrey Muli
Muli further noted that the lab which was launched three years after the launch of a Live Line Maintenance Programme, will also realize savings in terms of payment for services that were previously outsourced.
“The 35 live lines spread across the country are able to work on at least two locations in a week that would have required an outage resulting in a minimum saving on revenue loss of Sh17.5 million a week and Sh1 billion annually,” Geoffrey Muli.
The firm currently has 216 staff dedicated to the live line team doing an estimated 2,800 hours of live power lines maintenance every month.
The utility firm further noted it has been outsourcing these services at a cost of Shs36 million annually and is looking to make a saving in line with its cost management philosophy.
Kenya power also acknowledged that plans are underway to get the laboratory accredited by the Kenya Accreditation Services (KENAS) to enable it to test rubber insulating equipment for other organisations within the country and the region on a commercial basis.