What you need to know:
- Shady dealings have left the parastatal wobbling and unable to discharge its obligations.
- Frequent power outages and questionable billing are pushing customers into seeking alternatives.
The rot at Kenya Power calls for drastic action. Syndicates involving rogue employees have for far too long taken hostage the utility. That is why last week’s announcement by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i that Kenya Power is now a ‘special state project’ is the best news electricity consumers have heard in a long time.
Detectives have been sent in to unearth the shady dealings that have left the parastatal wobbling and unable to discharge its obligations. Frequent power outages and questionable billing are pushing customers into seeking alternatives, especially solar generation.
‘Radical surgery’ is needed to weed out the crooks who contribute to the high cost of electricity as they line their pockets. The team to lead the clean-up must move quickly and not spare a culprit. As the main distributor of electricity, Kenya Power has a vital role: It must supply power efficiently and reliably to industries, other key organisations and homes.
Indeed, the forensic audit to pull the firm from the brink of bankruptcy and enhance its operations is long overdue.
Numerous investigations and surveys in the past have exposed the crooked ways in which a few people have been enriching themselves at the consumers’ expense. Kenya Power loses Sh18 billion a year. An internal audit has lifted the veil on how staff collude with some big electricity consumers, denying the company revenue from sales.
The power utility is shamelessly mired in corruption, the latest case being an electricity tokens fraud. The project was intended to ease collection by installing prepaid meters for consumers. Instead, the crooks are milking the firm dry through a prepaid token sale syndicate that enables some consumers to secure more than 10 times the value of the tokens they buy. Through it, the firm loses millions of shillings every week.
The manipulation of the token system is not new. Between January 2018 and February 2019, Sh35 million was stolen through the irregular sale of power tokens. The loopholes through which the theft is done must be sealed immediately and the masterminds tracked down, uprooted and punished.