Kenya Power to plug cash leaks with smart meters

Kenya Power Chief Executive Bernard Ngugi.

Kenya Power has started hooking up small and medium enterprises with smart meters in a project expected to cover 55,000 businesses by end of June this year at a cost of Sh1.25 billion.

The meters are expected to help the firm protect its revenues, giving it capability to switch off defaulting customers remotely but also reconnect them fast in case of outages through automatically generated surveillance alerts.

The company started rolling out the devices by replacing post-paid meters for its large customers, which contribute the biggest chunk of its revenues.

It projects to have installed the smart meters for all SME customers by the end of the 2023-24 financial year.

“We believe that the advanced metering technology will further enhance customer satisfaction based on the visibility and prompt detection of power usage, and also reduce technical losses which are key to ensuring reliable and quality supply of power,” said Kenya Power Chief Executive Bernard Ngugi in a statement.

He added that in cases of outages, the smart meters communicate directly with the company’s National Contact Centre, which facilitates immediate resolution.

“These combined benefits of error-free data, prompt network problem identification and audit of energy consumption will go a long way in enhancing service delivery to our customers in the SME sector.”

The metering is funded by the World Bank as part of the Kenya Electricity Modernisation Project.

Other than increasing efficiency, the meters are also expected to help SMEs access the Time of Use Tariff, which offers power at discounted rates - usually 50 per cent of what they ordinarily pay per kilowatt hour but on meeting certain consumption thresholds.