KITUI, KENYA: Kenya Power has launched a manhunt for a man believed to have constructed illegal electricity supply lines in Kwa Kalaa village, Kitui Central constituency.
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Jacob Allan Otieno Nyawade, a foreman of a firm contracted by the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) to extend HT lines from Kiara Trading Centre to Kwa Kalaa Village, is also alleged to have obtained connection fees of up to Shs 60,000 per household from unsuspecting villagers by falsely pretending that he was able to connect them to the grid.
The money was to be used to purchase poles, conductors and other materials needed for the job as well as his labour charge.
Following complaints by villagers that suspected REA contractors were extorting money from them to construct electricity supply lines to their homes, Kenya Power dispatched a security team accompanied by other officers from REA to stamp out illegal connections in the area.
A total of 3,400 metres of low voltage conductors and 25 poles were recovered last week from illegal connections said to have been facilitated by Otieno using materials that are suspected to have been stolen from Kenya Power and REA stores and those that he vandalised from a low voltage line at Kiara Trading Centre.
“We advise members of the public to always apply for electricity and make payment for the same at our offices. No payment should be done to an individual. Investigations are ongoing and those who will be found culpable will be arrested and charged in court,” said George Mbogoh, Kenya Power’s Chief Security Officer for North Eastern region.
Illegal connections are a risk to the Company’s revenue as they provide an avenue for beneficiaries to enjoy unmetered electricity for which the Company cannot collect revenue. In addition, they overload the network thus causing outages and undermining the quality of power supply.
Such connections also pose danger not only to the culprits but also to beneficiaries. In collaboration with the police, Kenya Power constantly carries out operations to eliminate illegal connections, by-passing of meters and theft of electricity distribution equipment.