Kenya Power could be losing millions of shillings as rogue employees carry out illegal connections.
The employees are taking advantage of delays by the company to connect those applying for electricity and are now charging unsuspecting clients to make the illegal connections and pocket the proceeds.
The employees who are technicians are said to be visiting homes within the larger Mt Kenya region using private cars where they ask for money before illegally connecting homes to electricity. The do not wear uniforms, sources said.
Sources in Nyeri County who spoke to The Standard and are beneficiaries of the illegal power connections said they paid the technicians between Sh8,000 and Sh20,000. Meters have also been already installed in their homes.
One of the beneficiaries, from Mukurweini Constituency, said he applied for power connection and was given a quotation of Sh1,347,920.
He said Kenya Power employees justified the amount claiming despite the fact his home is next to the power line, they would have to use a different transformer, almost two kilometres away, to supply his home.
"The amount was high and so when a person who said he works with Kenya Power approached my wife and told her there was an alternative, we agreed," he explained.
The family paid Sh20,000 to the agent and within two weeks, the family's home was connected to electricity.
"Now I have power in my home. The company had asked me to pay a huge amount of money I think I would never have afforded," he said.
It is reported that owners of 15 homes paid as little as Sh5,000 to an 'agent' based at Mihuti Shopping Centre to connect them to electricity but this is yet to happen.
"We suspect that it is illegal but we are desperate to get electricity in our homes. As long as they keep their promises to help us, we will keep quiet," said a source.
And in Mathira, also in Nyeri County, about 15 homes have illegally been connected to electricity after the owners paid between Sh8,000 and Sh15,000 to people said to be the company's employees.
One of the beneficiaries said the agents are cashing in on the just paid tea bonus. "There are two Kenya Power workers whose names are circulating in the area. They are know for helping ' people connect their homes to power. However, you have to pay them in cash," said the source.
"Some people who cannot afford to pay the amount demanded are allowed to pay in installments, but for me I paid Sh15,000 in cash," he said.
Kenya Power's Mt Kenya Regional Manager Kenneth Chege admitted that there are many illegal power connections across the country.
"It is not just a Mt Kenya region problem. We want the media to help us expose these fraudsters who are out to con genuine taxpayers of huge amounts of money," said Chege.
He added: "We also want to tell those working with the rogue employees that once we find out they got the power through the backdoor, we will automatically disconnect them. We are also contemplating taking legal action against them," said Chege.