Kenya Power to go ahead with Sh2 billion tender for meters

Kenya Power staff installing a smart meter in Nairobi South. [File, Standard]

Kenya Power is now free to roll out a Sh2 billion tender for the supply of pre-paid metres after a case challenging it was struck out by the procurement tribunal.

On June 10, this year, the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PARB) struck out the case by four local bidders on the technical basis that it had been filed out of time. 

This is the second time the board has dismissed a case challenging the tender in two months. According to PARB, the four applicants were required to file complaints 14 days after knowing about the offending clauses in the tender document on March 15, 2022.

This means that the latest these local manufacturers would have filed their complaint with the board would have been on April 7, 2022.

“Therefore, in terms of Section 167 (1) of the Act, 14 days within which to approach the Board with an application for review ought to be reckoned with those dates in mind and therefore an application for review should have been filed at the latest on or by April 21, 2022,” reads part of the judgement.

“The date of reckoning is based on the date of discovery (learning) of the breach.”

The power distributor put in the tender document conditions that the applicants said were discriminatory against local assemblers.

Some of the conditions included having 15 years of technical experience; having been in service and been reliable for eight years in at least two power utilities and in at least two continents, and the metre to have non-volatile memory capable of data storage.

Bidders were also required to provide life expectancy tests. The four companies - Inhemeter Africa Company, Smart Meters Technology, Shenzen Start Instrument and Magnate Ventures — said they were locked out through the President Uhuru Kenyatta-led taskforce which restricted goods of high-value including transformers, sub-station equipment, metres and cables to original equipment manufacturers and not assemblers.

However, KPLC described the allegations as baseless, ridiculous, desperate attempts and hallucinations created to overstep the legally laid out procurement procedures as the Taskforce has no bearing on the tender.

KPLC said it made the bid restrictive and included international bidders because it had a bad experience with local assemblers, with the metres having a high failure rate.

“The associated costs for metre failures on average for the last three years amount to over Sh23,000,000 which leads to minting the taxpayer’s hard-earned money in replacing defective metres,” said KPLC. KPLC noted that applicants relied on old standards of over seven years — which have since been overtaken by events.

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