Kenya Power turns to detectives as vandalism cases remain stubborn

Kenya Power and Lightning Company (KPLC) Managing Director Joseph Siror. 

Photo credit: File | Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Kenya Power has turned to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers to stem the rising cases of vandalism and protect electricity equipment.

The utility firm has signed a partnership that will see the DCI second 42 officers to work with its security team in dealing with cases of vandalism, theft of electricity and fibre, as well as illegal encroachment of wayleaves.

The collaborative approach comes on the back of Kenya Power witnessing a 46 percent growth in cases of transformer vandalism in the financial year ended June.

Kenya Power said the vandalism affected 242 transformers in the review period, up from 165 units that were destroyed in the previous year.

“We have witnessed a recent surge in cases of vandalism and illegal connections across the country leading to unplanned power outages that inconvenience our customers,” said Joseph Siror, the managing director at Kenya Power.

“We are confident that the partnership with the DCI will boost our capacity to proactively fight vandalism and other crimes through an intelligence-led approach.”

Besides revenue losses, vandalism and illegal power connections expose the public to the danger of electrocution.

Additionally, vandalism compromises the quality of the power supply, directly affecting the economy.

The vandalism menace has been majorly sustained by those seeking copper materials to sell to scrap metal dealers, costing Kenya Power money.

“Through partnerships such as the one we now have with Kenya Power, we will work collaboratively for purposes of following the money trail, especially among those handling stolen copper and oil from vandalized transformers, so that the masterminds of these activities are arrested and prosecuted,” said Paul Wachira, deputy director for investigations at the DCI.

Since July last year, 1,026 people have been arrested across the country and prosecuted for various illegal activities within the electricity network.

The Treasury in June told the IMF that it expects Kenya Power recovery, supported by the upward review of tariffs and restructuring of operations, to cut the utility firm’s dependence on exchequer support.

Kenya Power posted a Sh3.19 billion net loss for the year ended June 2023 as it took a hit from a sharp rise in financing costs on its hard currency obligations due to the weakening of the shilling

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