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Kenya Power accused of inflating electricity bills

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Friday October 25 2019
Customers paying power bills.

Customers queue to pay electricity bills. Senators have accused Kenya Power of inflating power bills. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Senators on Thursday put Kenya Power to task over frequent outages and exaggerated billings.

They accused the utility company of subjecting Kenyans to untold suffering with inflated bills.

Appearing before the Senate Energy committee on Thursday, Kenya Power officials led by head of customer service Aggrey Machasio could not explain why consumers keep getting exaggerated bills and get disconnected if they fail to pay up.

“Why should a person in a one bedroomed house who just uses electricity for lighting and listening to radio get a bill of Sh12,000 in a month?” asked Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina, the committee’s chairman.

COMPLAINING

“We are here to serve the people who keep on complaining about the high bills by Kenya Power. Something should be done urgently to help these ordinary people who are helpless,” Mr Maina added.

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Committee vice-chairperson Mary Senata said the exaggeration of the bills of innocent consumers is akin to Kenya Power stealing from its own customers.

“Kenya Power is a big parastatal with a high number of employees. Why then should they fail to go and read meters and give correct billings? Why should consumers be punished for the failure of Kenya Power staff to do their work?” posed Ms Seneta.

Migori Senator Ochilo Ayako warned Kenya Power against mistreating its customers just because of the current “monopoly”.

“If you do not change, you will find yourself in very big problems the moment the monopoly ends,” Mr Ayako said.

INCORRECT BILLS

Energy Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Simon Kachapin, who also appeared before the committee, admitted that there have been instances where customers get bills which are incorrect.

“These are the challenges we are facing and we are working on resolving the issue. I want to agree that there are instances of exaggerated billings but we have put in place mechanisms for our customers to get assisted,” Mr Kachapin said.

In a bid to solve the problem, Mr Kachapin said they will ensure that complaint resolution mechanism is put in place to address the concerns of consumers on the fluctuating bills.

SH35.3 MILLION

In July this year, Kenya Power acting managing director Jared Othieno admitted before the same committee that about 3,500 customers colluded with Kenya Power staff to steal Sh35.3 million worth of prepaid tokens generated illegally from the firm.

He told the committee that Kenya Power had already hired the services of an independent ICT expert from Deloitte to audit its systems.