Determinants of power projects performance in the Kenya Power and Lighting Company limited
Electricity is a primary factor of development and should therefore be harnessed, and developed in an efficient manner. It should also be available in adequate quantity, quality and affordable prices. The level and intensity of commercial energy use in a country is a key indicator of the degree of economic growth and development. The challenges facing the power sector in Kenya include weak transmission and distribution infrastructure, high cost of power, low per capita power consumption, and low countrywide electricity access. Many projects have been initiated to address these challenges by KPLC with the support of the government and development partners. However in most cases the benefits from these projects are not realized due to poor performance during implementation. Research has found that, there are many factors that impede on project successful completion. Four independent variables namely; project management skills, politics, socio economic and government bureaucracy were identified as significant in contributing to project performance. This study sought to investigate how these variables affect performance on power projects implemented by KPLC, evaluate their relative ranking, and to quantify their impacts. The research employed an Ex Post Facto Survey design, which is deemed appropriate because it handles situations or events that have already occurred, investigates variables with the same characteristics and does not manipulate the variables. A questionnaire was used in data collection where respondents were drawn from contractors, consultants and KPLC staff, involved in the implementation of projects. Purposive sampling technique was used in identifying the departments for the study. The target population for the study was 168 persons in various department of the organization which included IT & Telecommunications, distribution, energy transmission, customer service, co-operate planning research and development and the energy sector recovery project unit from which a sample of 58 persons was selected. The response was very successful with a rate of 48 out of 58. The highest response was from IT & Telecommunications which demonstrates that the projects being undertaken by KPLC are technologically based. Data was analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively facilitated by SPSS (Statistic Package for Social Science) Computer package and presented in tables, graphs pie charts and frequency tables. The study lead to a conclusion that, project management skills, political interference, socio economic factors and government bureaucracy play a major role in project success realization in the KPLC. On ranking, project management skills had the highest effect on project performance while government bureaucracy had the least impact. These factors will continue affecting KPLC future projects under similar implementation environment thus the need for the organization to embrace mitigating actions that will enhance project success. The researcher recommends that KPLC invests in capacity building by equipping staff with required skills, to effectively manage projects. Recruitment of top management should be done through a competitive process to avoid being influenced by politicians so as to disengage its operation from politically affiliated decisions in choice of projects, contracts and management of projects in general. The organization should enjoin the community in areas it initiates projects through corporate social responsibility and partake lobbing for government support during the project roll out process.