advertisement

Economy

Kenya Power transformers vandalism falls 40pc

In 2012, replacing transformers cost Kenya Power $4 million (Sh412 million). FILE PHOTO | NMG
In 2012, replacing transformers cost Kenya Power $4 million (Sh412 million). FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Vandalism of transformers dropped 40 per cent in the year to June, saving Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC losses in hundreds of millions of shillings.

The utility firm says incidents of transformer vandalism dropped to 133 cases in the year to June, down from 228 in a similar period a year earlier and 535 in 2014.

This comes amid increased surveillance by the utility, stiffer legal penalties and initiatives such as placing transformers above live wires to curb their theft.

Vandals eye toxic oil that is drawn from transformers and is allegedly used for frying food at roadside stalls while copper wires from the equipment are sold to fix motors and as scrap metal.

The World Bank says Kenyans stay without power for 25 days a year, on average, due to blackouts. Kenya Power has also started mounting transformers in more inaccessible places, such as inside homes and much higher up on poles.

The utility has been mulling building transformers that do not use oil. Such equipment are not widely used and cost about half as much as those that use oil.

In 2012, replacing transformers cost Kenya Power $4 million (Sh412 million). Kenya has had some success fighting transformer vandalism.
In 2013, 535 transformers were vandalised, a stark drop from 898 in 2011, according to reports by Reuters quoting Kenya Power.

The drop was mainly linked to a 2012 law which imposed a minimum 10-year-jail sentence on transformer vandals. Previously vandals were fined Sh5,000 or sent to prison for six months.

An upgrade of the 2012 law upped the jail term for vandals to up to 30 years without the option of a fine.

advertisement