Kenya Power cracks down on illegal connections in Meru

Kenya Power has disconnected electricity supply to more than 50 homes in Meru in an operation aimed at stamping out illegal connections. 

Photo credit: Photo | David Muchui

What you need to know:

  • More than 50 homes were left in the dark after the power lines were disconnected in the crackdown.

One person was arrested Friday and 22 stolen meters recovered after officials from the Kenya Power company cracked down on illegal electricity connections in Meru.

According to the firm’s Mt Kenya regional manager Phineas Marete, the stolen meters were being used in illegal connections in Kinjo and Marere in Imenti Central and Igembe North respectively.

More than 50 homes were left in the dark after the power lines were disconnected in the crackdown.

"At Kinjo, the connections were done using substandard conductors and the poles were rotten. We recovered 12 meters stolen from outside the region. One suspect who has been involved in a similar crime elsewhere was arrested," Mr Marete said.

In Igembe North, he said 10 stolen meters were recovered and 30 users disconnected.

"In Marete, none of the customers had done a formal application to Kenya Power. All the connections affected had poor sags and were a safety hazard to the residents," he said.

Residents of Kinjo, where about 40 homes were affected said they were connected to the power line in 2007 under the Last Mile Connectivity programme.

Antubetwe Kiongo MCA George Kaliunga and his Abothuguchi West counterpart Patrick Muthuri called for clarity on why the connections done by Kenya Power staff and contractors were being declared illegal.

“Before any connection is done, we have to present documents physically to the Kenya Power office in Maua. The Kenya Power staff have been referring customers to those involved installing the electricity. This points to run away corruption within Kenya Power,” Mr Kaliunga said.

Mr Muthuri said Kenya Power should be held accountable for the illegal connections as they were done by their staff and representatives.

The Kenya Power regional manager also said that some connections done under the Last Mile Connectivity project can be illegal if outside the recommended 600 metres radius of a transformer.

He said the connections must be removed as a safety precaution as well as avert the damage of pricey transformers.

“There have been instances where corrupt contractors connect people outside the recommended 600 metres radius of a transformer. Anyone who is outside the 600 metres radius will have to be disconnected. A transformer has a limit of a distance it can cover,” Mr Marete said.

This comes two weeks after Kenya Power Managing Director Bernard Ngugi said the company would start discontinuation of all illegal connections in the country.

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