Kenya Power disputes KNBS's illegal connections statistics


Kenya Power Acting Managing Director Geoffrey Muli. FILE PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Kenya Power has disputed data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) that 680,000 homes were illegally connected to the national grid two years ago, a move likely to spark off a fight between the two State agencies.

Kenya Power's acting Managing Director Geoffrey questioned the source of the data adding that the figures are too high and would be a significant blow to its revenue growth efforts.

The 2019 Population Census by KNBS revealed that 6,069,680 households were connected to the mains electricity, a higher figure than the 5,390,396 that Kenya Power gave the same year.

Illegal connections are one of the causes of system losses that Kenya Power recovers by passing on the cost to consumers, leading to a high cost of power.

“That number is too big to be true and it also means that whoever gave the data knows exactly where these illegal connections are,” Mr Muli said.

“We do not know where that data came from we are not aware of it," he said as he disowned the data.

He did not however provide the exact numbers of illegal connections the utility is battling.

Kenya Power embarked on a heightened clampdown on illegal connections in a bid to curb revenue losses two years ago.

The State-owned power distributor last year announced partnerships with community groups in Mathare, Mukuru and Kibera slums in a bid to recover an estimated Sh2 billion from the illegal connections.

Kenya Power loses about 20 per cent in revenues due to illegal connections and fraud, highlighting the impact of the crime on the firm’s revenue growth.

The Energy and Regulatory Authority 2020 allowed to recover system losses that are equivalent to 19.9 per cent of the units it buys from power producers, up from 14.9 per cent.

Illegal connections involve a person who is connected to the national grid, illegally connecting other persons from his line and charging them, denying Kenya Power revenues.

The connections also lead to the overloading of transformers, compromising the quality of power through breakdowns of the transformers, adding to the expenses of Kenya Power in repairing or buying new transformers.

Those caught using illegally connected electricity risk a fine of Sh1 million or a year in jail or both under the law— fines that have seemingly not helped curb the crime, especially in the informal settlements.

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