What you need to know:
- Auditor-General Nanacy Gathungu says the possibility of recovering the outstanding bills of Sh1.8 billion is in doubt.
- In the financial year ended June 30, 2023, Kenya Power recorded a growth in electricity sales which rose to 9,566 gigawatt hours from 9,163.
Kenya Power risks losing Sh1.8 billion in unpaid electricity bills, a new report by the Auditor General shows even as the utility raced to deploy new metering strategies to curb the menace that continue sinking it into a deeper financial abyss.
Auditor-General Nanacy Gathungu says the amount due was consumed by 729,732 customers who were billed in the period ending June 2023 but declined to pay.
"Analysis of post-paid billing data and payments for the financial year under review revealed that 729,732 accounts were billed for electricity consumption costing Sh1,803,302,369 but had not made payment towards settling the bills," says Ms Gathungu in the report that was seen by the Sunday Nation.
Ms Gathungu says the possibility of recovering the outstanding bills of Sh1.8 billion is in doubt. This is because management has not indicated measures being taken to recover the amount owed by these customers.
Surprisingly, the accounts were still active despite disconnection orders raised against them.
In the financial year ended June 30, 2023, Kenya Power recorded a growth in electricity sales which rose to 9,566 gigawatt hours from 9,163.
“This rise in unit sales was mainly driven by a 5.9 percent expansion in consumption within the commercial and industrial customer segments, attributable to improved business activities. The improved sales trajectory together with the tariff adjustment resulted in a 21 percent growth in electricity sales revenue during the year,” managing director Joseph Siror said.
In a bid to curb power theft and unpaid electricity, Kenya Power is deploying a new metering plan.
Under the strategy on power metering, the utility said it will roll out smart metering of large-power consumers by December 2024 and place domestic and small and medium enterprises customers consuming above 200 units on advanced metering infrastructure within the next three years.
All new connections under these categories will be placed under smart meters.
“In addition, customers in the informal settlements will be on bulk metering for onward retail by third parties, and all rural customers will be on the prepaid metering system and will be transitioned to smart metering in the long term,” Kenya Power said.
Further, existing postpaid meters in rural areas will be retrofitted to prepaid meters over the next three years. On the distribution side, transformers and feeders shall be metered to support energy balancing under the ongoing alignment of customers of feeders” it added.
Kenya Power in a major shift has already bestowed the responsibility on the owners of premises connected to the power grid to ensure payment for electricity and has halted the provision of multiple meters for housing unit blocks owned by a single customer.
In a new strategy aimed at sealing revenue leaks due to illegal connections, the utility said that applications for meter separation will also not be processed, although sub-metering would be allowed.
“Management has recently revised guidelines on metering new connection applications. Going forward, there will be a provision of one meter only per plot where a plot belongs to one owner with multiple premises,” said Kennedy Ogalo, acting general manager, of infrastructure development at Kenya Power, in a memo to regional managers.
“This will imply that new applications from premises with multiple units like apartments, flats, and others, shall comprise only one meter. Therefore, meter separation applications will not be processed. Subsequent metering of the supplies will be sub-metering at the prerogative of the premises owners,” he said.
A sub-meter receives electricity from the main meter which in turn allows building owners to measure the electricity usage in individual units.
Mr Ogalo said the premises owner will be responsible for paying the electricity bill for the consumption recorded via the single meter from Kenya Power.