We are not to blame for high power bills, Lake Turkana Wind Power tells Senate

Lake Turkana Wind Power's Chief Financial Officer Amarish Parmar, CEO Phylip Leferink and Executive Director Rizwan Fazal when they appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Energy on April 17, 2023. [Elvis Ogina ,Standard]

Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited has dismissed claims that it is to blame for the current high power bills that have soared the high cost of living.

Appearing before the Senate Energy Committee, the firms’ Executive Director Rizwan Fazal defended the organisation against any wrongdoing saying they have instead saved consumers a whopping Sh45 billion since September 2018.

“We would like to inform Kenyans that 26 per cent of power produced in the country is lost in the transmission cycle since we have old electricity infrastructure which needed to be upgraded, we foresaw this problem as early as 2015 but our advice was dismissed by the relevant authorities,” said Fazal.

Fazal said the company had spent Sh2 billion when starting the project which was a great risk considering very few investors were ready to support them in a venture whose prospects they were not sure of and that they should be supported instead of being vilified.

Fazal had been tasked by the committee to explain why they are seeking about Sh20 billion as compensation to Deemed Generated Energy (DGE) after the government failed to live to its end of the agreement and have a transmission line ready in early 2017.

The Committee further wanted to know why the firm was insisting on getting paid for the penalties which has been cited as one of the reasons for the high cost of electricity in the country which has contributed to the high cost of living in the country.

Nyeri Senator Wahome Wamatinga who doubles up as the chairperson said Kenyans wanted to be told why their electricity was expensive terming it as the reason they were grilling the various Independent Power Producers with Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited being among the largest.

“We have an obligation as the elected representatives of the people to ensure that the cost of electricity which plays a major role in the economy comes down since it had contributed to other many services being expensive, that is why we are probing all players in the sector to establish where the problem is,” said Wamatinga.

Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina called for a forensic audit on the engagements between Kenya Power and Lighting Company and Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited to establish if there was corruption since there is no reason why the Independent Power Producers could be allowed to sell power at an exorbitant price without some entities benefitting.

Ledama said Kenyans want to know why the company should be paid almost Sh20 billion for services not rendered since they were penalties.

The senator said it should be probed whether some government officials might have deliberately sabotaged the provision of supply lines so as to pave way for the exorbitant claims by the private company with citizens bearing the burden of paying.

“We are disappointed to say what is being demanded by Lake Turkana Wind Power which is said to be a breach of contract could have been used to carry out several development projects that could turn around the lives of Kenyans for the better, we are out to establish if there is anyone who failed in their role leading to this,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Tana River Senator Danson Mungatana who sought to know whether the management of the Independent Power Producer could consider writing off some of the monies its claiming from the government as a sign of goodwill.

Mungatana said this would be possible since the firm did not lose directly but was only seeking compensation for the delay and it stood to lose nothing by giving in to save Kenyans who are suffering.

Mungatana said the Energy CS needs to appear before the committee and explain in detail what may have caused the delay of the supply line from Marsabit County where the company is situated and Suswa in Narok County for redistribution to the rest of grid bearing in mind the agreement in place which was now causing a headache to Kenyans.

His Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna said as elected leaders they were under pressure from the electorate to explain why the cost of electricity had skyrocketed in the past few months and that they will not allow a few individuals to benefit at the expense of millions of Kenyans who were suffering.

Sifuna said the management of the company should name individuals it alleged curtailed them when they tried to offer solutions early enough to avoid the situation where Kenyans are supposed to pay almost Sh20 billion for what appears to be deliberate mistakes.

But Fazal said 13 international organisations took the risk and supported the project that is now picking up and that at one point they gave a proposal to take over the construction of the transmission line and they were informed that it was not their responsibility hence they cannot be blamed for seeking penalties.

 He said during the signing of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between Kenya Power and Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited it was agreed that there will be a penalty should the state not have a line between Marsabit where the plant is located and Suswa for redistribution to the rest of the grid.

Real Estate
Landscape architects push for legal recognition
Real Estate
Nibs-linked hotel inks management partnership deal with global brand
Real Estate
Cities as drivers of growth and prosperity
Brookside Dairy distributes fodder material to farmers