Lawyer Apollo Mboya wants 'discriminative' Kenya Power tariffs suspended

Apollo Mboya says the new billing structure favours the minority bulk power consumers.

Mr Apollo Mboya, Nairobi lawyer. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

IN SUMMARY

  • Mr Mboya claims the new electricity tariff structure issued by Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on July 30 increased the cost of electricity for domestic consumers and favours the minority bulk power consumers.
  • He says the new tariff is meant to circumvent court orders issued in January restraining Kenya Power and the ERC from charging consumers with inflated backdated electricity bills to recover Sh10.1 billion.

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Lawyer Apollo Mboya has filed a fresh application seeking to suspend the implementation of new power tariffs, arguing that it is discriminative.

Mr Mboya claims the new electricity tariff structure issued by Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on July 30 increased the cost of electricity for domestic consumers and favours minority bulk power consumers.

He says the new tariff is meant to circumvent court orders issued in January restraining Kenya Power and the ERC from charging consumers with inflated backdated electricity bills to recover Sh10.1 billion.

The new tariffs are effective from August 1 for prepaid users and July 1 for those on post-paid meters.

This effectively pushes power costs for middle class households by up to 54 per cent.

“That pending the hearing and determination of this application and this honourable court be pleased to issue an order directed at the 1st (Kenya Power) and 2nd (ERC)respondent to stop and cease the implementation of electricity retail tariffs announced and published by the 2nd respondent on July 30, 2018,” reads one of the orders sought by Mr Mboya.

Equal protection

He terms the alleged discrimination unconstitutional, noting that every person is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection, arguing that the State cannot discriminate against any person.

Mr Mboya says the first 10 units (Kwh) consumed by domestic consumers will cost Sh12 per unit up from Sh2.5 charged before the changes, effectively pushing the charges for this category from Sh25 to Sh120.

He further notes that for the next 40 units, Kenya power will earn Sh15.80 per unit, up from Sh2.5 previously charged, estimating that consumers will pay Sh632 instead of Sh100, a change of more than 600 per cent.

Mr Mboya notes that there is no reprieve for domestic consumers using up to 1,500 units. The reprieve is only for those above this band, and says that very few domestic consumers fall beyond this band.

He further notes that the Sh150 fixed charged was dropped to hide the hiking of electricity bills for domestic consumers.

READ: Factories say power bills to increase 18pc

READ: EDITORIAL: Promises of cheaper power yet to be fulfilled

READ: Middle class hit hard in new electricity tariffs

Bill fluctuations

The regulator removed the Sh150 fixed charge payable to Kenya Power for all connections, with the aim of smoothing out fluctuations especially for customers on prepaid meters.

The billing fluctuations have been a big source of complaints.

Consumers will now get a predictable power units at any time of the month they recharge their accounts.

Kenya Power has been pushing for higher rates, citing increased operating costs and the need for more funds to upgrade its rickety network.

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