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KenGen wants to create special zones that would give manufacturers discounts on power bills due to lower transmission costs from the plants to the industrial hubs.

Local news details that the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) will set up a special economic zone close to the geothermal plants in Olkaria to offer subsidised power to manufacturers.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday said creation of these special zones would see manufacturers offered discounts on power bills because of lower transmission costs from the plants to the industrial hubs.

“Special Economic Zones and EPZs (Export Processing Zones) will benefit from concessionary power rates to catalyse industrial production,” said Mr Kenyatta during the commissioning of 140 megawatts at KenGen’s Geothermal 1 Power Project that is part of the ongoing 5,000-megawatt programme.

Special economic zones also offer tax concessions and are built to make Kenya’s manufacturing sector competitive in the regional market.

Manufacturers cite power outages and expensive electricity as factors that contribute to making Kenya uncompetitive.

The country has increased geothermal power production to boost supply as well as reduce electricity costs and cut its reliance on expensive diesel generators.