Kenya Power blocks banks, shops from selling tokens


Kenya Power staff carry out repair works on a transformer. PHOTO | NMG

Kenya Power has locked out banks and third-party vendors from selling tokens for pre-paid customers over increasing complaints on delays and cases of billing fraud.

The State-owned power utility on Tuesday said the changes effective September 1 will also see all post-paid customers pay their bills through 13 bank accounts and two M-Pesa paybill numbers.  

New connections will only pay via the M-Pesa paybill number, 888899. The utility hopes that the directive will help protect the revenues from pre-paid customers that account for an estimated 14 percent of sales.

“We wish to inform our prepaid and postpaid customers that effective September 1, purchase of prepaid tokens and payment of postpaid bills will only be made through the following authorised channels,” Kenya Power said in a notice.

Some of the third-party vendors that have been buying tokens for pre-paid customers include Vendit and Dynamo Digital. The bank will also affect cyber cafes and corner shops.

Pre-paid customers will only buy tokens through the M-Pesa paybill 888880 while post-paid clients will pay bills using 13 bank accounts and the M-Pesa pay bills, 888888 and 888899.

The banks are Absa Kenya, Citi Bank, Co-operative Bank, Family Bank, Equity, I& M Bank and KCB Group.

Others include NCBA Group, Postbank, Stanbic Bank, National Bank of Kenya and Diamond Trust Bank.

Kenya Power collected Sh20.57 billion in power sales to pre-paid customers in the year ended June 2021, accounting for 14.27 percent of the Sh144.119 billion raised in the period.

Investigations by Kenya Power last year revealed that rogue staff had colluded with fraudsters using a web of unidentified mobile numbers to target unsuspecting customers through the WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook platforms.

Kenya Power said that the rogue staff working with third parties were generating and selling pre-paid tokens, denying the firm an undisclosed amount of money.

Customers had also said that their Kenya Power accounts had negative balances, meaning they would have to settle the bills before they could buy additional units highlighting the extent of the rip-off.

This is the second time in three years that the State power utility has banned third parties from making purchases for customers amid the rise in fraudulent deals.

In 2019, Kenya Power stopped third parties from buying tokes for customers, prompting protests from the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek).

Cofek argued that it was wrong for Kenya Power to punish vendors due to the criminal activities of a few individuals.

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