Cancelled smart meters tender sheds light on Kenya Power wrangles


Kenya Power workers during live-line maintenance. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The board of management of Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC has said it ordered the cancellation of a multibillion-shilling contract for the supply of smart pre-paid meters for undisclosed reasons, highlighting behind-the-scenes rows that saw the shock exit of the utility’s former chief executive, Bernard Njoroge last month.

Sachen Gudka, a member of the Kenya Power board told the National Assembly Committee on Energy that they had reservations on the meters and ordered the firm’s management to cancel a contract to purchase them.

“There were a few issues on the meters. The board requested the management to cancel the tender because of some issues here and there,” he told the Committee within giving detail.

Kenya Power had in May advertised the tender for the supply of the smart meters that targeted about 55,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) but cancelled it two months later.

The smart meters would have given KPLC the capability to switch off connections for defaulting customers remotely and reconnect them fast in case of outages through automatically generated surveillance alerts.

The utility started rolling out the devices by replacing post-paid meters for the industrial consumers, who contribute the biggest chunk of its revenues.

Kenya Power last month announced the exit of Bernard Ngugi, its fourth CEO in four years, replacing him with Rosemary Oduor in an acting capacity.

Mr Ngugi’s exit was linked to differences with the Vivienne Yeda-led board that was picked to revive the firm’s dwindling fortunes last year.

The move to cancel the tender shines the spotlight on Kenya Power’s woes with the board saying that un-disclosed officials at the firm’s management are not happy with the recent actions.

“On the allegations that we are interfering, one man’s view is that we are interfering but another is that we are doing what is best for the company,” Elizabeth Rogo, a board member told the committee.

“There are things that must happen that some people may or may not like, we have no interest in getting anything from Kenya Power.”