Electricity is one of the main sources of power in our technological world of today. Every day we use items powered by electricity. To get this electricity for use, we will need professionals to do the installation. Below, we are going to see the best electrical installers in Kenya, the process of electrical installation, what you will require, costs and anything you need to know when making installations.
We recommended you to go through every section of this article so as to make the best decision of your electrical installation including being up to date with the whole process.
Process of Electrical installations
Below are the steps to follow to get power into your premises, each step will be explained later in this article.
- Determine the type of installation
- Choose the power supply type
- Choose a power supply plan
- Hire an electrician to do wiring in your building
- Apply for power connection from KPLC
- Make the required payments to KPLC
- You will be connected now and good to go.
Types of electrical installations
The type of electrical installation is classified according to where the installation is to be made. This should be the first thing for you to determine since the type of installation you are making will affect the different requirements in the process. The following are some of the common installations.
This kind of installation is the one done at household level. The domestic installation involves installing power capable of providing lighting and running common electronics used in homes such as, TVs, laptops, electric appliances, motor machines etc.
In commercial installations, the electric power is installed to cater for different setups, this includes but not limited to; posho mills, offices, rental houses, business rentals etc.
This type is the one done to cater for different institutions such as schools, companies, churches etc. This kind of places will have a lot of people hence more lights/bulbs will be required and a good number of sockets provided.
Security light Installations
While this maybe incorporated when doing the above installations, sometimes it is done as a separate. You will also note that this will require a budget of its own hence the reason for being separated from the above.
Just like security lights, electrical fence can be done when doing other general electrical work or as a separate. The fence can either be pure electrical or a razor type. See images below.
This involves installation of motors and ensuring that the environment that they are installed in is safe, the current should also be adequate for various speed of the motor, the motor installation goes even to the extent of providing safe mechanism to ensure that the motor is not destroyed in any event such as short circuiting.
Choosing power supply type
In Kenya two types of power supply are mainly available, that is;
- Single phase and
- Three phase
The type you choose depends on the type of installations. 3 phase power type is highly efficient and provides power as much as two times that of a single phase. The 3 phase provides a voltage of about 415 while the single phase provides a voltage of about 230.
Note: For most common installations, the single phase power is adequate. 3 phase power supply is needed for machines that require very high Voltage to operate. If you are not sure on which power supply to choose, request for advice from your electrical installer or KPLC.
Installation of 3 phase is costly than that that of single phase.
Choose a power plan
As you already know, Kenya Power and Lighting Company is the supplier of electricity in Kenya, this company offers two power plans, that is;
- Prepaid and
Prepaid power plan
The plan is commonly referred to as Token. This is an efficient power plan that mainly came to be by the large use of Mobile money in Kenya. With this plan, you top up your power account (through a paybill) just like you would load airtime on your simcard and just like you would spend airtime, the top up is spent the same. When your top up is used completely, the power will go off immediately, topping up will reconnect the power again.
This power plan is considered efficient by most users, for places where power is shared, this is the best choice, for example in rental houses. This will make sure that everyone will pay for the exact power they consume.
The government together with KPLC came up with a plan to reduce the power installation cost for prepaid users to KSH 15,000 in rural areas which can be paid through installments, this applies as far as you are within 600 meters from the nearest power transformer. Please confirm if the plan still exists. Normal charges are usually KSH 35,000 and 50,000 for single phase and 3 phase respectively.
Post paid plan
This is the old plan where you pay for the power consumed in a month. In the post paid plan, an agent from Kenya power will visit your meter box each month to read your usage for the particular month. Payments can be made through KPLC office near you or through KPLC paybiill number, if you fail to pay for subsequent months, the agent will cut off the power supply till you pay all pending bills.
The Installation cost of the post paid is usually KSH 35,000 for single phase and KSH 50,000 for 3 phase for all consumers around 600 meters from the nearest transformer.
Installing of Electricity in your facility
After deciding the type of power supply and the plan, it is time for you to start the process of installing power, here two stages are involved as below;
- Wiring of the building by an electrician
- Application/request of power supply from KPLC
Wiring of building
This involves installation of electrical equipment by a qualified electrician.
Please Note: After wiring is done, the electrician should provide you with a wiring certificate that you will present to KPLC.
As the name goes, wiring involves placement of wires that will be used to circulate electricity inside your building. The wiring system that will be installed will have two systems, that is;
- Lights system and
- Socket system
This happens because of most equipment plugged in the sockets will require more power than lights. Often the socket will have a current of 20 Amperes and above while the lights will have about 6 Amperes.
Image source: DIY wiki
Requirements for electrical installation
After contacting an electrician for wiring of the premises, they will require you to provide required materials for the work, below are some of them. Please note that the list below might not contain all the required materials, also, requirements will change depending on various setups. You should hence follow the electrician advice in this case.
- Electrical cables (Wires)- this is a must requirement, one major thing considered is the cable sizing which should go in line with the current needed.
Below are some recommended cable sizes, please consult to with your electrician since this might change in different situations.
1.5mm2 – for lights
2.5mm2 – for sockets
6mm2 – for consumer units and cookers
- PVC pipes- this will be required for laying out wires safely. For example inside concrete parts of your buildings or walls.
- Consumer unit- This is another important requirement, also known as the fuse box, it is where the electrician will divide the socket and lights power. One very important role of the consumer box is safety, in case there is a short circuit, the switch at the consume box goes off automatically preventing further damages. At the unit, you can also switch on and off your electrical system. The consumer box is earthed for safety.
- Meter box- the meter box is where KPLC will place their meter, it should also be earthed for safety purposes.
- Sockets and switches- They are what you will use to plug in your electrical equipment and turn on/off lights respectively. Depending on use, they can be one gang or two gang.
- Junction boxes- these are placed where the wire is to be split into different directions.
- Bulb holders- this is where your lights will be attached to, the holders should be in line with the bulbs you choose.
- Bulbs- You will obviously require this for light at night. Red bulbs are the most recommended types. See why in the article over here.
Tips for your electrical installation
- If your building involves columns, beams and slabs, make sure the wiring (PVC laying) is done at the light time, that is, before casting of concrete. This will prevent chasing of the structure which leads to extra cost and sometimes ugly finishes.
- Chasing and PVC laying on walls should be done before plastering, this is to prevent ugly finishes.
- All wires should be hidden, for example in the ceiling. If you have a lot of wires closing in your house, the interior look is going to be unattractive.
- In staircases or similar places, a two way switch is suitable, it will allow for switching on the light as you enter the staircase and switch off as you leave.
Apply for Power supply from Kenya Power and Lighting Company
After finishing up on wiring, it is time to apply for power from KPLC. Kenya Power provides two options for application;
- Physical application and
- Online application
Visit the nearest KPLC office or Huduma center. You will be given the supply request form that you will be required to fill. The following details will be required;
Your identification document, either a National ID or any recognized document e.g passport or Driver license
Copy of pin certificate
A sketch of route to the premises the power is to be installed
Consent document from owner
Wiring certificate and
The supply form
Visit the KPLC application portal over here Kplc self dervice portal
Go to application for new supply
Fill in the provided form
You should have the following documents in soft copy (PDF or MS);
Property Ownership documents
After making the application, KPLC will make a site visit. This will to inspect if the wiring done is to the required standard and do a costing for your installations. After you make the payment, KPLC will connect you to the power and you will be good to go.
As we mentioned before, for those who are not beyond 600 meters from the nearest transformer, the normal cost is KSH 35,000 and 50,000 for single phase and 3 phase installations respectively. If however you get a chance of benefiting from the rural electrification project, the cost will be KSH 15,000 for single phase.
The above cost does not include the wiring cost hence the money required is obviously more than the ones above.
After you are connected to power, you will have to pay for the amount you consume. Whether you are using a prepaid or postpaid plan, you have a chance of paying bills using KPLC paybill, that is, Paybill numbers; 888880 for prepaid and 888888 for Postpaid. The account number should be the exact number of your meter.
Electrical power is usually very dangerous and hence you should always follow all safety precautions. This includes never to touch naked wires and always request for electrician services when they is need for repair or expansion of your installment.
In case of an electric shock, you should always switch off the electricity supply before trying to save the victim. Recommended firs aid should follow and then the victim should be taken to a hospital immediately for medical check up.
Process of power supply
We have seen how to get power to your premises, however if you might be interested, here is the process of power generation and supply in Kenya.
Electricity power is mainly generated in Kenya by KenGen Ltd. The company uses various options for power generation as follows:
Hydropower- this has been the option used for a long time in Kenya, it involves use of water from manmade dams on large Rivers to generate electricity.
Geothermal- the type of method involves generation of power from steam originating from the earth crust.
Wind power- with wind power, turbines driven by Wind are used for generation of electricity.
After the power is generated by KenGen, it is transmitted at very high volts to KPLC power stations. The Voltage of the electricity is usually very high such that it is transmitted using high metallic masts known as overhead transmissions lines. Voltage is usually 100, 000 volts and above.
Power supply is done by Kenya Power and Lighting Company. After the power arrives at KPLC power stations its voltage is dropped by use of step down transformers, this power is now fed in power supply lines and is transmitted to various destinations using the main transmission lines. Electricity that reaches you usually go various step up and step down transformers to make sure that the Voltage for your premises is either 240 volts or 415 volts.
We hope that this article will help you get the best electrical installation services including you making the best decision. Cheers!!