Local firms assembling electricity meters and transformers have asked power utilities to consider them while procuring such products.
Through their lobby, the Energy Meters Assemblers and Manufacturers Association, the companies said the products they assemble locally, especially meters used by Kenya Power, match the required standards.
The association has in the past taken issue with Kenya Power for restricting tenders and limiting applications such that only original equipment manufacturers are eligible to bid and supply the firm with meters. This has meant that only international firms are in a position to bid as the local industry largely assembles the equipment and is yet to develop manufacturing capacity.
Kenya Power has in turn stated that the restrictions are due to the high failure rates of the equipment offered by some of the local players.
“The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act 2015, Section 155 clearly provides for preferential treatment on articles manufactured and materials and supplies wholly mined and produced in Kenya as well as manufactured articles, materials and supplies also partially produced in Kenya and where applicable have been assembled in Kenya,” said the association in a letter to Kenya Power.
The lobby said its members have been through a learning curve since they started engaging Kenya Power in 2015, adding that they have pumped huge investments into assembly plants believing that KPLC would offer them a market for their products.
The firms, it noted, had undertaken research to build capacity to meet the demand by Kenya Power. The returns have, however, not been commensurate with the investments.
“It is important to note that as a result of the invitation by Kenya Power, the local manufacturers embarked on setting up local factories which have undergone accreditation with Kenya Power having carried out the necessary factory inspection and the factories have obtained Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) approval as well as international accreditation,” said the association.
The local firms have in the past pushed for more inclusion in the electricity business noting that Kenya Power should offer preferential treatment in the spirit of the Buy Kenya Build Kenya initiative.