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Reforming Kenya Power will lessen public’s pain

EDITORIAL
By Editorial | October 8th 2021

Kenya Power live line team workers go for an assignment at Malaba border in Busia county on September 17, 2021. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The decision by the government to restructure the operations of Kenya Power is welcome. Kenyans need affordable electricity.

The cost of electricity is way too high and has made Kenya one of the most expensive manufacturing destinations.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised that the cost of electricity will go down by about 30 per cent by December. If this is implemented, it would ease the cost of living and make Kenyan factories more competitive. The government has since appointed an inter-ministerial team to audit the firm and oversight urgent reforms in the company.

Lately, a week hardly passes without the mention of Kenya Power in a negative light. In fact, it has been like this for some time now. The utility company is a monopoly holding hostage its more than seven million customer base by pushing costs to them. The customers range from low-income users to industries powering Kenya’s economy.

In 2020 alone, these consumers paid Kenya Power an average of Sh52 per day translating to Sh133 billion. However, the listed power firm, majority-owned by the government at 50.1 per cent, still sank into losses nearing Sh1 billion.

Expensive loans, high system losses, poor governance and political interference are some of the challenges the power firm faces. Yesterday, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i met with the Kenya Power board and senior managers which led to some reform agreements that will help streamline the power firm.

The Matiang’i meeting recommended that the firm be declared a special government project. A meeting of State agencies in the energy sector will be called to work out modalities of bringing down energy costs.

One take-away from the meeting was that a team comprising the DCI and other agencies will formed to look into the utility firm. The move is welcome and will help resolve structural issues that have prevented Kenyans from enjoying steady and cheap electricity.

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