Kenya Power on the spot over loose electricity lines

Motorists drive under a dangerously hanging electricity pole on the Riokindo-Nyabitunwa road in Bomachoge Borabu Constituency, Kisii County, yesterday. [Edwin Nyarangi, Standard]

Residents in Kisii have taken issue with Kenya Power as hanging electricity cables pose a danger to the public.

Recently, James Nyambongi died at Kegati as he was harvesting fodder for his livestock when he accidentally touched a barbed wire fence without realising an electric pole had fallen on it.

Area Chief Alexander Nyakenyua told The Standard that the electric cables responsible for Nyambongi’s death had fallen three days earlier, and accused Kenya Power of being slow in responding to residents’ call for immediate repair.

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

Replace posts

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Residents living on Riokindo-Nyabitunwa road in Bomachoge Borabu Constituency want the State-owned utility company to replace posts that are hanging dangerously on the road, those damaged and those on the carriageway, as well as repair loose wires to prevent similar calamities.

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

Mr Moronge said quotations done in 2017 had to be revised several times after expiring within 90 days of issue.

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“Kenya Power needs to move at least 1,000 poles within a 50km radius within Kisii County away from the roads and drainage tunnels to ensure that county residents feel secure. In Riokindo alone, we need Sh250 million to ensure this is achieved,” he said.

Moronge said roads projects in Bonchari Constituency need Sh50 million, Kitutu Chache North Constituency Sh20 million and those in Nyaribari Masaba Constituency require at least Sh5.8 million to make the exercise a success.

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

Rerouting poles

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

Kerra Kisii County Director Mule Maingi admitted that there were delays in payments of the quotations and requested Kenya Power to come up with new quotations for all expired requests that his office would then follow up on.

Mr Maingi said the Bomachoge-Borabu road links contracted to KIU Construction Company at a cost of Sh1.92 billion in June 2016 had stalled due to poor cash flow.

Further, the 47-kilometre road project was supposed to have been completed by August 2019, while maintenance works are to be done by August 2022.

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

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The StandardBomachoge BorabuKenya Rural Roads Authority