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Bid to revive power bills suit dismissed

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A Kenya Power technician at work. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Justice Weldon Korir dismissed the case, saying once parties filed a consent, which was adopted by the court in October 2018, there was nothing more to be done in the case.
  • In the suit, lawyer Apollo Mboya and the Electricity Consumers Society of Kenya wanted to stop Kenya Power from recovering Sh10.1 billion for costs not reflected on 2017 bills.
  • He moved to court after some 900,000 customers were slapped with unusually high power bills or received fewer units for their normal monthly spend.

The High Court has dismissed an attempt by six Kenyans to revive a class action suit against Kenya Power over alleged inflation of electricity bills.

Justice Weldon Korir dismissed the case, saying once parties filed a consent, which was adopted by the court in October 2018, there was nothing more to be done in the case.

In the suit, lawyer Apollo Mboya and the Electricity Consumers Society of Kenya wanted to stop Kenya Power from recovering Sh10.1 billion for costs not reflected on 2017 bills.

He moved to court after some 900,000 customers were slapped with unusually high power bills or received fewer units for their normal monthly spend.

The suit also sought to stop Kenya Power from recovering the costs and a refund of Sh2 billion that had already been recovered.

Kenya Power, however, denied the claims that the high power bills were an attempt to recover the Sh10.1 billion but as a result of implementing new billing software.

The lawyer later signed consent with Kenya Power, settling the case, a move that was contested by the six Kenyans.

In the ruling Justice Korir said there was no evidence to support the claims of fraud and collusion, but it was premised on “street talk in the city of Nairobi which does not meet the standard of evidence”

“What has been placed before this court is hearsay evidence that cannot form a factual basis for holding and finding that the consent order was founded on fraud and collusion,” the Judge said.

The six — Jerotich Seii, Eva Mutua, James Gitau, Wanjeri Nderu, Fredrick Asira and Victor Innocent Otieno — went back to the High Court seeking to join and revive the case against Kenya Power, Energy Regulatory Commission and Attorney General.

And after being joined as parties, they wanted the court to set aside the consent signed between Mr Mboya and Kenya Power, settling the dispute.

They argued that the main issue, inflation of bills, had not been addressed and there was no reason for Kenyans to continue suffering.

Other parties in the dispute were Electricity Consumers Society of Kenya. The six said the case was filed by Mr Mboya on his behalf and behalf of Kenyans, being a representative suit, the consent was in breach of trust. The court heard that since the case was instituted in the public interest and the move by Mr Mboya of abandoning the cause amounted to a violation of public trust.

Kenya Power submitted that the standard of proof on a claim of fraud and collusion is higher and the six have not placed any evidence to support it.