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Kenya Power to meter transformers over electricity theft

A Kenya Power technician working on a step-down transformer
A Kenya Power technician working on a step-down transformer. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC wants to meter all its transformers across the country in latest bid to curb the rising menace of electricity theft that is costing the company billions of shillings.

The process will help the utility firm to identify specific transformers affected by the theft and close in on homes benefiting from stolen electricity.

The firm’s system losses averages 20 percent, which is above the allowable level of 14.9 percent and therefore the difference is a cost to the company.

“We want to meter all transformers. This will help us narrow down to where these losses are occurring. We are starting with Nairobi since it is the biggest revenue basket,” managing director Benard Ngugi said on Friday.

As at end of June 2018, the grid was being served by 337 high and medium voltage substations and 67,352 distribution transformers.

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The announcement comes a day after the firm toured Nairobi’s Donholm area and cracking down illegal power connections. The firm said it had sacked 110 employees in the last one year for aiding illegal connections.

Lack of metered transformers has made it hard to easily identify areas where losses are coming from.

Mr Ngugi said Nairobi is the most affected, based on initial findings from previous crackdowns on areas such as Tassia, Embakasi and Makongeni.

The firm is also realigning its business units and changing operations of key processes, starting with Kiambu.

This will see more staff, including non-technical ones, will be redeployed to identify areas with high illegal consumption. This will also spend up on bills reading.

“We want to change the structure of operations and make counties profit contras. Each county will be headed by county business manager fully empowered to run the county like a CEO,” said Mr Ngugi.

The staff in each county will be assigned transformers along the feeder lines to address theft of power by ensuring timely reading of bills and rectifying problematic meters.

“We want to account for every power we buy from generators. We will have boarder meters so that we know how much power we have supplied to a particular county and how much we are selling to customers,” said Mr Ngugi.

Kenya power has been connecting more customers to the grid under government’s last mile connectivity project but revenues have not been keeping pace with this.

Net profit for six months to December 2019 fell 71.8 percent to Sh693 million, continuing the trend of dimming performance in the recent years.

The results came on the back of a 92 percent plunge in net profit to Sh262 million in the financial year ended June 2019, with rising non-fuel costs being the key reason for the performance.

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