Lake Turkana Wind Power's CEO Phylip Leferink when he appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Energyon April 17, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Lake Turkana Wind Power bosses have been put to task over a Sh24.7 billion demand for Deemed Generated Energy (DGE). This is after the government failed to live to its end of the agreement to have a transmission line ready by early 2017.

The company’s top officials appeared before the Senate Energy Committee yesterday. They were asked why they were insisting on being paid the penalty which has been cited for the high cost of electricity that is driving up the cost  of living.

Committee Chairman Wahome Wamatinga (Nyeri Senator) said Kenyans wanted to know why electricity was expensive, terming it the reason they were grilling Independent Power Producers (IPP) with LTWP being among the largest.

“We have an obligation as elected representatives to ensure the cost of electricity, which plays a major role in the economy, comes down since it had contributed to many other 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 of engagements between Kenya Power and LTWP to establish if there was corruption, saying there is no way IPPs could be allowed to sell power at an exorbitant price without some entities benefiting.

Ole Kina said Kenyans wanted to know why LTWP should be paid over Sh20 billion for services not rendered and if some government officials might have deliberately sabotaged the provision of supply lines to pave way for the exorbitant claims by the company.

“We are disappointed that the Sh24 billion being demanded by LTWP 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. We are out to establish if there is anyone who failed in their role leading to this,” he said.

Sign of goodwill

Tana River Senator Danson Mungatana sought to know whether the management of LWTP could consider writing off some of the monies it is claiming from the government as a sign of goodwill. He said the firm stood to lose nothing by giving in to save Kenyans who are suffering.

Mungatana sought to have the Energy Cabinet Secretary appear before the committee to explain what may have caused the delay of the supply line from Marsabit to Suswa in Narok County. Last year, the National Assembly Energy Committee also probed possible conflict of interest by former Kenya Power board chairperson, Vivienne Yeda who was a lender to the LTWP project through the East African Development Bank where she is the director general.

Baringo North MP Joseph Makilap asked National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula to order the committee to establish whether the agreement between Kenya Power and LTWP contributed to the high cost of power.

“Why did Kenya Power pay for energy from the Lake Turkana Wind Power that was never utilised? Is there a correlation between Kenya Power paying for power not delivered by the LTWP and the high cost of power in Kenya?” Posed Makilap.

In the petition to the Speaker, the MP questioned the role of Ms Yeda.

Marsabit Senator Mohammed Chute wanted the management of Lake LTWP to tell the committee whether it has met the local community and resolved the land ownership issue after the High Court in Meru ruled that the title deed was issued in an unlawful and irregular manner.

Chute said the Marsabit County Government, the Attorney General, the Chief Land Registrar and the National Land Commission were asked within one year to undertake compliance with the law failure to which the titles will stand cancelled.

Chute implored the committee to visit the county and see how families near the LTWP land were living in abject poverty despite the company generating billions of shillings.

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

LTWP Executive Director Rizwan Fazal defended the firm against any wrongdoing saying they had saved consumers a whopping Sh45 billion since September 2018.

“26 per cent of the 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.

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