Kenya’s largest power producer KenGen will enter the bottled water market in May with launch of its drinking water brand.
The company, which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), has set up a bottling plant at its Gitaru power station – Kenya’s largest hydroelectric station with a capacity of 225 megawatts (MW).
“Target date to launch formally Gitaru water is May 1, 2020. But as we speak, it’s up and running with all the drinking water used by us (KenGen offices) coming from there,” the company updated us on the progress.
Asked on the brand name, the firm said: “On the trademark, there’s a proposed name but registration process is still underway. We’ll only share once the process is complete.”
The water business is part of the power producer’s revenue diversification strategy, including consultancy and geothermal steam sales. The entry raises the stakes in the local drinking water market already teeming with dozens of bottled water brands.
KenGen’s water plant was first announced two years ago, having cost about Sh37.8 million to construct, according to earlier estimates. Construction was by Aquachem Technologies.
The facility purifies water through reverse osmosis and has a capacity to process 3,000 litres per hour.
Besides opening a new revenue stream, KenGen looks to save up to Sh32 million per year in drinking water costs for it’s over 2,400 employees. Bottling will include large 18.9 litres containers for water dispensers, currently used in its offices.
“Use of seepage water was taken as the best solution because; water is pre-filtered (no pre-treatment chemicals to remove suspended particles i.e. aluminum sulphate and sodium bicarbonate are not used),” the company said.
KenGen, which is 70 percent owned by the government has been keen to shore up its revenues through alternative cash streams, a quest that saw it create KenGen Energy Services, a subsidiary to handle non-generation businesses, including geothermal development consultancy. The power producer controls about 60 percent of Kenya’s generation market.
Gitaru power station, where the water plant is located, is one of the Seven Forks hydrostations belonging to KenGen on Tana River. The others are Masinga power station (40 MW), Kamburu (94 MW), Kindaruma (72 MW) and Kiambere (168 MW).