Editorials

Fast-track negotiations on electricity bill cuts

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Kenya Power technicians repair transmission lines. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The government should drag its feet on the pledge to cut electricity prices to relieve the burden on millions of Kenyans and thousands of local firms struggling with the high cost of electricity.

Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said in January the cost of power would come down by March 31 to fulfil President Uhuru Kenyatta’s promise of reduced electricity bills to homes and further cuts in the first quarter to achieve an additional 15 percent.

As part of the State’s efforts to bring down the cost of energy, State House had proposed reviewing power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed over the years by Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC .

While this would help reduce the cost, our position is that the government should negotiate with the independent power producers before taking any action.

The power producers are in business, which means any move that will not address their concerns, might plunge the sector deeper into turmoil.

Sidelining the private producers might also cut investments in the sector that in the long run might increase the cost of power.

For Kenya to grow into a manufacturing powerhouse in the region, affordable energy is required to power factories.

This can only be achieved if the government involves all the players in decision-making.

Besides renegotiating the PPAs, Kenya Power should work to cut the inefficiencies that lead to power losses which is above the global average.

Power losses have been partly blamed on aging transmission lines and systems. Kenya Power has the responsibility to ensure that their systems are upgraded to cut on the losses which they pass to consumers.

Further, we need to see action taken against corrupt officials at the power utility firm and the Ministry Energy who have cost the country billions of money and given the country costly electricity.

We cannot solve the problem conclusively if we do not hold officials who were responsible to account.