Factors Influencing the Reliability of Power Supply Substations in Kenya: a Case of the Energy Sector Recovery Project in Kabete Sub-county, Kenya
One of the major problems facing most counties is frequent power outages due to the poor state of electricity infrastructure, policies and lack of finances. Any power outage even for the shortest period can have adverse effects on not only the economic condition of country but also on the security, health and general wellbeing of a community. For instance, in Kenya as some areas can go without power for several days, which in many ways affects people’s activities (Tortora and Rheault 2012). This study sought to investigate the factors influencing the reliability of power supply substations in Kenya in order to draw important lessons for future ventures. The scope of the study was limited to Kabete Sub-County and the Energy Sector Recovery Projects. The objectives of the research were: to establish how electricity consumption influences the reliability of power supply substations; to assess how energy sector regulations influence reliability of power supply substations; to determine how the power grid congestion influences the reliability of power supply substations and to establish the extent to which Energy Regulatory Authority’s involvement influences reliability of power supply substations. Two theories namely the Agency and Fault Tree Analysis theories were reviewed. Further, a conceptual framework was drawn to show the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. The study adopted the descriptive survey research design in which targeted population was 290 energy sector personnel that are directly involved in the implementation, operation and maintenance of power supply substations from Kenya Power and Lighting Company, Energy Regulatory Authority and Energy Regulatory Commission. The sample size comprised of 165 respondents were selected by stratified random sampling method from these organizations. The primary limitations that were faced during research include issues of confidentiality of respondents. Before the actual study, a pilot study was done two weeks before the actual study whereby reliability was tested using the test-retest method and validity was tested using content validity method. Research questionnaires were used to collect data after which data analysis was done by calculating the arithmetic mean and standard deviation. The research findings were presented in tables. Study findings revealed among all the factors that were under study, Energy Regulatory Authority involvement had the most significant influence on the reliability of power supply substations with a mean of 3.90. This was closely followed by power grid congestion with a mean of 3.87, thirdly was electricity consumption with a mean of 3.83 and lastly Energy Sector Regulations with a mean of 3.78. The conclusions drawn from this research study are; reliability of power supply substations is critical for the development of Kabete Sub-County and the nation at large; there are multiple interdependent factors that directly affect reliability, some are beyond the control of policy makers (such as climatic changes and leadership) yet many factors are, in fact, actionable if a long-term and comprehensive approach is adopted. Therefore, electricity consumption, energy sector regulations, power grid congestion and Energy Regulatory Authority involvement need not be treated separately. These levers are integral to ensuring that power supply substations meet and maintain a sustainable power reliability index. Grounded on these findings it was recommended that there is need for the concerned governmental agencies in partnership with any private entities to encourage people to adopt the use of alternative sources of energy, as this is the way that overdependence on electricity can be reduced; hence, promote the reliability of power supply substations. In addition, it was recommended that it is important for the government through the concerned bodies to adopt regulations and policies that are geared towards promoting a functional energy sector and that there is need for such organizations to provide enough support towards electrification projects.
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