City lawyer seeks legal action against Kenya Power boss over backdated bills

Kenya Power Managing Director and CEO Ken Tarus (left) and ERC director general Pavel Oimeke. PHOTOS | FILE | NMG
Kenya Power Managing Director and CEO Ken Tarus (left) and ERC director general Pavel Oimeke. PHOTOS | FILE | NMG 

Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) have been slapped with a contempt of court suit over failure to stop recovery of Sh10.1 billion in backdated bills from customers as earlier directed by the High Court.

The complainant, Apollo & Co Advocates, has asked the High Court to take legal action against Kenya Power’s managing director Ken Tarus and the ERC director-general Pavel Oimeke.

The High Court on January 12 temporarily stopped the utility firm from charging customers the hefty backdated bills incurred in unrecovered power fuel costs until the case filed by lawyer Apollo Mboya is heard and determined on January 30.

But Mr Mboya now claims in his submission to the court that the recovery was ongoing as shown by the billing of account number, the details of which he has attached.

“Kenya Power on January 23, 2018 billed the applicant in respect of account No. 428130 with a total amount of Sh2,319.43 despite the bill showing zero consumption of electricity based on the same previous and current meter reading,” Mr Mboya says in his submission.

The Attorney General and Auditor General are also listed as respondents in the suit that came after power bills shot up last November and December.

Lawyer Apollo Mboya. FILE PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NMG

Lawyer Apollo Mboya. FILE PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NMG

Election year

Kenya Power revealed the hefty bill in its annual report, explaining that costly power due to increased uptake of expensive diesel-generated electricity was not fully billed to homes and businesses between last February and August.

This action was taken to keep a lid on rising power prices in an election year.

The Sh10.1 billion bill was identified as unrecovered power fuel costs in utility firm's annual statement for the year ended June 2017.

About Sh2 billion has been recovered so far, leaving out Sh8.1 billion that will be passed on to consumers in monthly invoices.

The competition watchdog has also announced it has started investigating Kenya Power for overcharging electricity consumers.

“Dr Ken Tarus and Pavel Oimeke have shown contempt of court by disobeying the Court Order of January 12, 2018 and failed, refused, ignored and/or neglected to instruct their employees, representatives and/or agents to comply with the court order to stop and cease the billing of electricity consumers with inflated backdated bills to recover Sh10.1 billion contained in their annual report and financial statements for the years ending June 30, 2017.”