Kenya Power fails to block firm’s Sh930,000 claim for fire losses


Kenya Power Offices along Aga Khan Walk as pictured on April 23, 2023. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The High Court has dismissed an appeal by Kenya Power challenging a decision by a magistrate directing it to pay a warehousing company Sh930,000 after finding it responsible for a fire incident.

Justice David Majanja ruled that he agreed with the magistrate’s court that, on a balance of probability, Kenya Power’s negligence caused an electric surge at Pwani Warehousing Limited.

“Much as the cause of the fire originated in the internal wiring, I doubt the power surge would have reached the internal wiring if the cutout fuses to the godown were in place.”

The court also ruled that it did not think it was the responsibility of Pwani Warehousing Ltd to ensure that the cutout fuses from the main supply line to the godown remained connected at all times. “It was not proved that it was out of the negligence of the respondent that the cutout fuses were dismantled to isolate the godown,” ruled Justice Majanja.

In its appeal, Kenya Power had wanted the High Court to determine whether the magistrate’s court misapprehended the evidence and arrived at the wrong conclusion and also whether it proceeded on wrong principles and came to an erroneous decision.

Justice Majanja noted that a report by the chief fire officer in Mombasa County indicated that the cutout fuses had been dismantled to isolate supply in the godown.

“This would explain why neighbouring areas on the same supply line would not be affected by a power surge from the main supply line,” said Justice Majanja.

At the magistrate’s court, Pwani Warehousing Limited had said that on June 12, 2018, a fire broke out at a warehouse that it had leased to Portside Freight Terminals.

The company told the court that security guards on duty put out a distress call to the fire department of the county government of Mombasa who responded with alacrity and with the help of the port fire brigade, extinguished it.

 The court further heard that the chief fire officer at the county government of Mombasa wrote a report covering the fire incident which attributed the cause of the fire to an electrical short circuit on electrical wiring in the internal distribution caused by excess power.

Kenya Power had opposed the case because it claimed that the fire was caused by a short circuit in the company's internal distribution system hence it was beyond its jurisdiction.

 The electricity distributor argued that it could only be held responsible for fires caused due to faults on the main power line.

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