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Economy

Electricity theft and leakages cost Kenya Power Sh10bn in six months

A Kenya power technician fixes high voltage electricity line in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE
A Kenya power technician fixes high voltage electricity line in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE 

Kenya Power lost Sh10 billion in the six months to December through electricity thefts and leakages from an ageing transmission network, translating to lost earnings for shareholders of the listed utility.

The utility said Thursday it sold 3.6 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in the period to December despite buying 4.5 billion units from generators like KenGen, translating to losses of 900 million units.

Kenya Power sold a unit of power at an average price of Sh11.50 per kWh to homes and businesses, meaning that losses are worth Sh10.3 billion.

This translates to lost revenues for Kenya Power shareholders given the firm had a target of keeping the transmission losses below 15 per cent.

The combination of power theft and leakages from the ageing transmission grid, which stems from the long period of under-investment, has continued to keep the system beyond the set targets.

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Managing director Ben Chumo earlier said the firm had channelled Sh10 billion in the current financial year towards strengthening transmission to cut the losses to below 10 per cent.

Kenya Power recorded a 16.4 per cent drop in net profit to Sh3.7 billion in the half year. This means that system losses of Sh10.3 billion is nearly thrice Kenya Power’s profit and equivalent to a quarter of its Sh41.6 billion sales.

The inefficiency in the power flow system happens in high voltage wires, substations as well as low voltage lines connecting households and businesses.

High voltage wires, above 132 kilovolts, are managed by the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company with Kenya Power handling lower voltage lines.

Meter tampering or outright theft of electricity have also dogged Kenya Power, which is also hurting from vandalism of lines and transformers.

The listed firm is racing to expand its electricity distribution network to keep up with growing demand.

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