The cost of electricity has been on the rise over the years despite promises of cheaper power by the Government.
A unit of electricity for domestic consumers has increased to Sh23.10—31 per cent more than the Sh16 it cost in 2013. Ironically, the cost has not come down despite the number of electricity users growing substantially to stand at 6.7 million.
This is because while the number of connections have increased, the power sector's revenues have not gone up. If anything, Kenya Power is now grappling with a large number of debtors; consumers who haven't paid their power bills.
According to its latest report, Kenya Power was owed Sh4.4 billion by consumers as of June 2018. Notably, the power sector has focused on growing the number of domestic consumers in line with the Government's ambition to achieve universal electricity access by 2022. This is commendable.
However, the company needs to establish why consumers are not paying their bills. It could be due to the high cost of power.
In fact bringing down the cost of power could help Kenya Power to turn around its fortunes, besides improving lives. If the cost is cheap, more people will connect to the power grid - if cost of connection is not prohibitive - and be able to pay their bills.
More consumers would mean excess power the country has would be consumed, spreading the cost of electricity the new users and making it inexpensive and affordable. It is not helpful to give people access to electricity while they cannot afford to pay for it.