You are here  » Home   » Business

Kenya Power fights off fake connections expose

By Paul Wafula | Published Tue, March 21st 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 20th 2017 at 20:02 GMT +3

Kenya Power came out fighting over revelations that it has been submitting fake electricity connection numbers to the Government.

The utility company said in a statement 5.9 million customers have been connected to the grid to date through ongoing Government-led national electrification programmes.

Of these, 3.5 million customers are on prepaid metres as the company shifts to advanced technology that makes it easy for customers to purchase electricity.

“The number of households currently connected to the national grid stands at 63 per cent of the national coverage. The target is to connect 70 per cent by the end of this year and universal access by the year 2020,” acting Chief Executive Ken Tarus said.

Mr Tarus denied reports that about one million customers were non-existent, based on the fact that they had not purchased tokens since the meters were installed and activated.

The Standard on Sunday, which broke the story reported how pressure from the Jubilee administration to connect one million new customers to electricity every year may have pushed Kenya Power employees to deliberately report fake numbers to meet their targets.

Avoid fake news! Subscribe to the Standard SMS service and receive factual, verified breaking news as it happens. Text the word 'NEWS' to 22840

The internal communication reveals that the power utility bosses have spent a lot of money to clean up the mess, but the vice has refused to go away.

Reacting to the expose, Mr Tarus said all prepaid metres come with pre-loaded units, which account for the long time taken by customers before they start vending, especially in low income households.

 But his response is in contrast to an internal email discussion by his managers which he was copied. According to the leaked correspondence, managers are seen discussing how the numbers were embarrassing the company.

“It is high time that we punished leaders who have decided to deliberately embarrass the company by reporting fake numbers...”

This means either the meters were still lying idle in some warehouses or had been left with a customer but not yet installed. Nevertheless, the employees went ahead and reported these as new connections.