Higher power tariffs for middle class ill-timedTuesday March 28 2023
The upward revision of electricity tariffs targeting middle-class households and small commercial consumers is ill-advised and will add to the economic woes that millions of Kenyans are already facing.
The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) on Friday approved the new tariffs to protect Kenya Power from financial distress, hitting households who consume between 31 units and above with the steepest jump in prices alongside small commercial consumers.
The new tariffs will see electricity prices increase by between 15 percent and 20 percent on average from next week, setting up consumers for higher prices of manufactured goods.
While the distributor understandably needs finances to revamp its transmission infrastructure, the fact is a majority of consumers in the targeted group are already grappling with the rising cost of living and a high tax burden.
The new tariffs also go against an earlier promise by President William Ruto that power prices will not be increased this year.
Dr Ruto campaigned on the promise that he will lower the cost of living and create more jobs by supporting small businesses.
Increasing the cost of power will not rescue the power utility from its financial woes.
What Kenya Power needs to do at this time is to address its efficiency and reliability failures and cut costs to stimulate consumption.
Improving the reliability and efficiency of the national grid and prudent management alone would return the monopoly to profitability.