Kenya Power explains how customers were overcharged as lawyer plans to sue

Energy CS Charles Keter: On Monday he refuted KP had inflated power bills by Sh10 billion. [File picture]

NAIROBI,  Thursday Jan, 2018: Nairobi lawyer Apollo Mboya says he is going to sue Kenya Power before end of the day for erroneous power bills which affected a number of consumers last year December.

 Kenya Power, however, blames the overcharging  on erroneous power bills for December to a new system.

Mboya said he has received a letter from the utility firm explaining source of the error leading to extra charges in the December billing.

“I am signing papers as we speak and will be in court in a short while to sue," he said.

On January 5, Mboya acting on behalf of consumers wrote to Competition Authority of Kenya protesting ‘abuse’ of market dominance by Kenya Power to ‘overcharge’ consumers.

In his complaint, he noted that in the month of November or December 2017, several consumers started receiving inflated power bills from Kenya Power and Lighting.

“It later emerged that KPLC was indeed recovering Sh8.1b backdated bills from electricity consumers allegedly incurred on diesel generation in the year 2017 but were not factored in the monthly charges while the government sought to keep a lid on utilities in an election year,” says Apollo in a letter to Competition Authority of Kenya.

In a response letter dated January 10 to lawyer Apollo Mboya, Kenya Power puts the blame on erroneous power bills for the month of December to a new system.

The letter from Managing Director’s office Ken Tarus however dismissed claims of breach of the provisions of Competition Act or the Constitution instead inviting Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to investigate complaints raised by the lawyer.

“In November 2017, we migrated to a new integrated customer management system which is geared towards among other things, immediate update of payment of bills done through our third party EasyPay partners; enabling customers check and query issues like bills, own consumption patterns and power supply through mobile phones,” reads the Kenya Power letter.

“We have realised that there have been errors in the conversion to the new system and that some bills which have been sent out reflect an amount due in excess of what should have been charged.”

Kenya Power said it has begun a publicity campaign to notify its customers of any possible errors in the bills they may have received in the month of December and invited them to bring the matter to attention.

The erroneous power bill has been a major debate with many consumers claiming that the power company backdated the bills to recover more than Sh10 billion deferred in fuel costs last year. The government through Energy CS Charles Keter has refuted the allegations.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter on Monday blamed the high tarrifs on a billing fluctuation following an upgrade in the billing mechanism by the power utility.