Companies

Union suit halts Sh225m Kenya Power, NYS deal

judge

Lady Justice Onyango Maureen Atieno. FILE PHOTO | NMG

bonface_img

Summary

  • A High Court judge has stopped Kenya Power from contracting National Youth Service (NYS) to identify the location of electricity meters in homes and businesses, dealing a blow to efforts to curb illegal connections.
  • Justice Maureen Onyango of the Employment and Labour Relations Court froze the Sh225 million NYS deal pending the conclusion of a suit Kenya Power workers union fretful of job cuts filed.
  • Kenya Power tapped 310 NYS officers for three months to identify the meters in each Kenyan household and business premises and help pinpoint where theft takes place.

A High Court judge has stopped Kenya Power from contracting National Youth Service (NYS) to identify the location of electricity meters in homes and businesses, dealing a blow to efforts to curb illegal connections.

Justice Maureen Onyango of the Employment and Labour Relations Court froze the Sh225 million NYS deal pending the conclusion of a suit Kenya Power workers union fretful of job cuts filed.

Kenya Power tapped 310 NYS officers for three months to identify the meters in each Kenyan household and business premises and help pinpoint where theft takes place.

The Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers Union says they were not consulted over the deal that threatens to render about 320 of their members jobless.

Kenya Power is cracking down on electricity thieves who deprive the company of revenue as it seeks to lift itself out of a deep earnings slump.

“In the meantime, the status quo pending as of today, the 19th day of July 2021 is to be maintained pending the inter parties hearing of the application,” said Justice Onyango.

The house-to-house exercise was expected to help the electricity distributor narrow system losses from the transmission, which are above 20 percent that exceeds the global benchmark of about 15 percent. The extra losses translate to an annual loss of more than Sh3.5 billion.

The company has fired tens of workers in the past year due to fraud and illegal connections to the grid carried out by people suspected to be its employees.

The suit will be heard next Wednesday.




Ketawu sought to have Kenya Power restrained from outsourcing information and data gathering, arguing that it was breach of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

This was after Kenya Power last year entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NYS, agreeing to take up 300 officers and 10 supervisors from the youth service to do meter reading.

In the MoU, Kenya Power would cater for costs and pay the outsourced meter readers Sh1,000 daily while the supervisors would be paid Sh2,000 daily.

On its part, NYS would provide labour, transport and work equipment.

“The recognition agreement between the union and Kenya Power is categorical in protecting the potential impact on employees and envisages prior consultation on such radical measures in the working environment,” said the union’s general secretary Ernest Nadome in an affidavit.