Editorials

Review the levies for affordable electricity

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A technician repairs a power line. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The cost of electricity in Kenya remains stubbornly high despite recent moves by the government to try to lower it.

This month, electricity bills will rise by between 3.3 percent and 16.5 percent for the various categories of consumers after the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) increased the fuel and forex charges to reflect the shilling fall.

At 16.5 percent, Kenya Power’s customers consuming less than 30 units monthly will see their bill increase by one of the highest margins alongside small commercial customers.

Middle class domestic customers will have their power bills rise by 13.4 percent while the big industrial customers will pay 3.3 percent or more.

The increases continue a trend that started with a marginal 1.20 percent rise in December after a slight relief of a 1.18 percent drop between October and November last year.

Notably, they are contrary to forecasts by the Ministry of Energy of sustained drops in power bills.

Granted, the authorities have little say on the fuel and forex components of the power bills, which mirror the global oil prices. But they are not totally helpless.

They can, for instance, determine the level of thermal power uptake in the national grid that continues to expose consumers to high fuel and forex charges.

To alleviate the pain of high cost of living for households, made worse by the rising electricity bills, the government can review the taxes and levies that, together with other charges, comprise 40 percent of the total cost.