Middle class electricity bills up 30pc in a year


The Cabinet has ordered a split of Kenya’s electricity transmission system to ensure that a power failure in one part does not affect the whole country. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Middle-class households and small traders have been forced to raise their budgets for electricity in the first year of the Ruto administration at a pace nearly double the growth four years ago, analysis shows.

The average cost of electricity for families consuming 200 kilowatt-hour (units) jumped 30.25 percent in October compared with the 16.13 percent rise over four years in the review month.

This is after Kenya Power priced 200 units at an average of Sh6,686 last month compared with Sh5,133.06 in the corresponding month in the prior year, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

The average cost for the same consumption was Sh4,419.94 in October 2018 and Sh3,751.38 in October 2017.

The jump in power bills, which in part reflects the impact of sliding shilling against the dollar and climbing diesel prices, has further squeezed earnings for households and businesses that have largely been stagnant.

The Ruto administration whose first full month in power was October 2022 dropped the 15 percent cushion on power bills by the predecessor Kenyatta regime in December.

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) followed that up with an increase in base electricity costs from April, the first review since 2018.

The review raised the base tariff for households consuming more than 100kWh by 13.72 percent to Sh31.75 per unit while the charge for those buying 30-100 units went up 18.69 percent to Sh26.10 per unit.

Besides the base charges, the power bills are also largely impacted by surcharges. These are largely fuel cost charges (FCC) remitted to power producers who burn diesel to generate electricity and the forex rate fluctuation adjustment (Ferfa) that helps Kenya Power cover repayment of foreign loans and power purchase costs in tandem with the shilling-dollar exchange rate.

FCC was last month set at Sh4.94 per unit compared with Sh7.09 a year earlier, while Ferfa stood at Sh1.38 per kWh from Sh1.48 in October 2022.

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.