Validation of the law that paved the way for participation in power sales market by individuals and private companies to favourably compete with the monopolised power firm, has caught the eye of Kenya’s telecommunication giant.
The new law’s objective is to introduce more retailers in the monopoly power market which has for the longest time has been lead by Kenya Power. The signing into law of the Energy Bill 2017 by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday, which provides for the rollout of net-metering will have financial beneficial especially for large private organisations as well as being environmentally friendly.
Net-metering, a utility resource usage and payment scheme allows customers who generate their own power to be compensated monetarily as a way to encourage consumers to invest in renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power.
Safaricom’s infrastructural and financial muscle has enabled it to own and operate 4,945 base stations (cell phone towers) in Kenya, most of which are powered by solar energy and standby diesel generators. As at the end of last year, some 155 network sites belonging to Safaricom were being powered by solar/wind hybrid renewable energy solutions.
The telco giant is replacing the handful remote base stations which are exclusively powered by diesel generators with solar stations and backup batteries in a bid to lower environmental pollution.
“Net metering is going to be very important especially for large organizations in Africa. If you take the example of a big mobile company like Safaricom, we have a footprint that covers every corner of Kenya through base stations. If we can have these running on green energy like solar which is abundant, it will be good for our business and good for our environment,” said Stephen Chege, Safaricom chief corporate affairs officer on Thursday at the One Planet Summit in Nairobi.
Safaricom looks to make more profits and protect the environment from pollution with its capacity to tap into net-metering.