Demand for electricity hits the maximum level every evening in Kenya at 8.30pm as households gather for the night and touches the lowest level early mornings at 3.30am.

Records at electricity distributor Kenya Power show that on a typical day, power demand starts picking momentum at 5am when households wake up for work and school, switching on lights, hot showers and other home appliances. Consumption then gathers pace midmorning at 10.30am before becoming flat in the afternoon.  It then rises steeply in the evening from 6pm when Kenyans return home, hitting the highest peak at 8.30pm. Peak demand currently stands at 2,036 MW.

Kenya’s peak demand window stretches from 6pm to 10pm, thereafter it tapers off, touching rock bottom (baseload of 1,200 MW) at 3.30am.

Kenya Power’s consumption curve lifts the veil on the lifestyle patterns of Kenyan households.

The electricity distributor shares the information with power producers like KenGen and independent producers to enable them plan how much power they will need to make available at any given time.

During the evening jumps in demand, peaker plants, mostly diesel generators are often switched on to meet the four-hour demand spurt. The diesel generators are then switched off as demand starts to drop past 10pm.

Due to the high short-run marginal costs, thermal plants are mainly used to provide peak load capacity.