Major towns in Taita Taveta County and their environs are still in darkness one week after Kenya Power switched off street lights over unpaid electricity bills amounting to over Sh23 million.
The blackout comes as blame games continues between the county government and four MPs over who is supposed to clear the pending bills. The street lighting project was spearheaded by the MPs but they want the county to clear the bills, arguing that it has been collecting revenue from local traders.
At the same time, traders have lamented over the blackout, saying their businesses have been affected and the darkness was likely to promote insecurity in the region.
Road reserves in the towns, learning institutions and residential areas in Voi, Mwatate, Wundanyi and Taveta Sub Counties are among those affected.
Kenya Power County Business Manager Evans Agesa confirmed the disconnection saying the company will only reconnect electricity after the bills are cleared by the county administration.
“There has not been a workable formula to clear the bills hence our decision to disconnect electricity supply,” he said.
County Secretary Liverson Mghendi said the street lighting project was implemented by MPs and therefore, they are responsible for clearing the bills, not the county government as claimed.
“We operate with a budget which excludes payment of electricity bills for street lights. MPs should take responsibility,” said Mghendi.
However, Voi MP Jones Mlolwa exonerated his office from blame over the accumulated bills. He instead pointed an accusing finger to the national government.