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Lawyer sues Treasury over Sh100 billion power bills

Mr Apollo Mboya, Nairobi lawyer. file photo | nmg
Mr Apollo Mboya, Nairobi lawyer. file photo | nmg 

City lawyer Apollo Mboya has filed a suit in the High Court seeking to stop the Treasury and power producers from passing on to consumers any costs associated with 20 power projects he claims are unwarranted.

Mr Mboya claims that the estimated charge of about Sh100 billion annual payments, to be passed on to the consumers, are in disregard to the rights of electricity consumers and taxpayers and should be stopped.

The lawyer, who has been championing electricity consumers’ rights, argues that the Treasury secretary has prepared a Budget Policy Statement on Creating Jobs, Transforming Lives as part of “The Big Four” plan, with the intention of using taxpayer funds to pay approximately Sh100 billion annually for power projects over a period of 25 years.

The payments include ‘deemed Generated Energy Payments to 20 private power projects contrary to the law.’

“The said amounts of approximately Sh100 billion annually (cumulatively Sh2.14 trillion) shall burden electricity consumers and taxpayers with inflated electricity bills and levies to the benefit of private entities and individuals,” Mr Mboya says in the documents filed in court.

Treasury secretary, Ministry of Energy, Central Bank of Kenya, Energy Regulatory Commission and the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company are listed in the suit papers as respondents.

Mr Mboya accuses Ketraco of being negligent in connecting the Lake Turkana Wind Power to the National Power Grid and exposing taxpayers and electricity consumers to paying billions of shillings for stranded electricity.

The lawyer further accuses the Ministry of Energy of signing skewed contracts with power producers, arguing that when the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project failed to meet the 2014 deadline of completion, it did not pay any fine but taxpayers and electricity consumers are now forced to pay for Ketraco’s failure to complete the transmission line within schedule.

Mr Mboya notes in his petition that the World Bank had cautioned Kenyan authorities against signing an onerous power purchase agreement with Lake Turkana Wind Power, forcing the World Bank to withdraw its backing for the project.

The World Bank, he says, had raised concerned on the power purchase agreement that commits consumers to paying billions of shillings for electricity not used — effectively beating the project’s primary purpose of reducing the cost of power in Kenya.

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