A lawyer has gone to court, seeking to block Kenya Power from charging customers new tariffs.
Former Law Society of Kenya CEO Apollo Mboya filed the case yesterday, arguing the company last month told Kenyans that it had lowered the cost of electricity while in reality it had increased for households and small businesses.
Mr Mboya, who also sued the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), claimed the national power supplier intended to recoup Sh10.1 billion in backdated electricity bills despite court orders issued seven months ago.
According to Mboya, household consumers will shoulder the burden of the inflated bills while bulk consumers will be exempted in the new tariffs.
“The new tariff structure discriminates a significant majority of the domestic consumers and favours the minority bulk power consumers. In order to hoodwink the domestic consumers, the second respondent (ERC) has massaged the blow of the increase by dropping fixed monthly charges of Sh150,” the lawyer claimed.
He added: “The respondent issued new electricity structures, thereby increasing electricity tariffs with an intention to circumvent court orders of January 12, 2018, restraining the respondent from billing consumers inflated backdated electricity bills to recover Sh10.1 billion.”
The first case emanated from an admission by the firm that it had recovered Sh2 billion of the Sh10 billion from consumers.
It claimed that there was an error in its billing system. But Mboya argued in court that the information given to consumers was misleading and discriminatory.
“The first respondent (KP) is abusing its monopoly, dominance and buyer power in the supply of electricity to the consumers and threatening to disconnect electricity to its customers if they don’t pay the demanded backdated amounts,” the court papers read in part.
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According to the lawyer, he received 600 complaints of inflated bills from different customers. He also claimed to be a victim, saying that in December last year, he received three different bills from the power firm. The first one, he said, was Sh9,863 and the subsequent ones had Sh2,143 and Sh3,929 as consumption costs.
Mboya argued that a household would be required to pay Sh632 instead of the Sh100 charged previously for home lighting. He claimed that households using up to 1,500 units a month would now pay Sh15.80 per unit for every extra unit consumed.