Kenya Power on the spot over dangerous poles and cables

Kenya Power Company is on the spot over cases of dangerously hanging electricity poles and cables in residential areas in Kisii region which is a looming danger to members of the public.

Five people are said to have died due to electrocution in the past three months, the latest case being of James Nyambongi who died at Kegati area as he was harvesting fodder for his livestock when he accidently touched a barbed wire fence on which an electric pole had fallen.

Area Chief Alexander Nyakenyua told the Standard that the electric cables responsible in Nyambongi’s death had fallen three days earlier and accused Kenya Power Company of being slow in responding to residents’ call for immediate action to rectify the power lines on time.

“We wish Kenya Power had quickly responded to calls by the residents of Kegati to quickly restore the power cables that had fallen, this way I believe we could not be mourning one of our community members, it is important that they act promptly when called upon,” said Nyakenyua.

Residents living along Riokindo-Nyabitunwa Road in Bomachoge Borabu constituency are now calling upon the state owned power company to replace cables that are hanging dangerously on the road, those broken, those on the carriageway and loose wires to prevent similar calamities.

 A visit by the Standard in the area recently found out that motorists and motorbike riders were operating under sagging electricity poles and cables which might be disastrous to unsuspecting members of the public if nothing is done quickly to restore them to a safe condition.

Kenya Power Kisii County Business Manager Mang’era Moronge blamed Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KERRA) over delays in honoring payments for quotations of up to Sh100 million meant to restore electricity cable lines in various parts of the county.

Moronge expressed concern that quotations done as far back as 2017 have had to be revised severally after expiring within 90 days of issue and that KERRA had only managed to pay Sh3.9 million for two road links since 2017.

“Kenya Power needs to move at least 1,000 poles within a 50 Kilometers distance within Kisii County away from the roads, drainage to ensure that county residents feel secure, in Riokindo area alone we need Sh250 million to ensure this is achieved,” said Moronge.

The Kenya Power County Business Manager said that Roads in Bonchari Constituency need Sh50 million, Kitutu Chache North Constituency Roads need Sh20 million and those in Nyaribari Masaba Constituency required at least Sh5.8 million to make the exercise a success.

Moronge said that the major challenge faced by Kenya Power was due to the fact that electricity supply was done in most areas long before the roads were mapped out with Rural Electrification Authority performing its work on manual estimation before the roads were mapped.

“Kenya Power had identified five contractors in the region to do replacements of poles, rerouting of poles and other needed restoration immediately funds were availed to prevent further calamities happening,” said Moronge.

KERRA Kisii County Director Engineer Mule Maingi admitted that there were delays in payments of the quotations and requested Kenya Power to do new quotations of all expired requests for further follow up by his office.

Maingi said that the Bomachoge Borabu road links contracted to KIU Construction Company at a sum of Sh1.92 billion in June 2016 had stalled due to poor cash flow and said that the 47Km road project completion date was supposed to be August 2019 while completion for maintenance works was August 2022.

“The contractor had requested for extension of completion time citing delays caused by electioneering period in 2017, delay in interim payments and in issuance of instructions for major drainage structures among others,” said Maingi.