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Kenya Power loses Sh328m to vandals, wants copper export ban


 Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) technicians replaced a transformer that was vandalised in Nyeri. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Kenya Power has lost 78 transformers worth Sh78 million in the last five months, translating into huge replacement costs.

Between 2022 and 2023, the power distributing company said it lost Sh220 million to vandals, with Kenya Power Chief Executive Joseph Siror calling for enhanced collaboration with stakeholders in the scrap metal industry.

In the financial year 2022-2023, the firm lost 365 transformers amounting to Sh328 million in replacement costs. “It is important for us to work together in combating this menace that is slowly but robbing Kenyans of access to reliable power supply,” Dr Siror said at the Kenya Power, Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) and the Scrap Metal Council dialogue forum with scrap metal dealers in Nairobi.

“If you compute the cost of unserved energy, loss of business, and possibly lives, the losses are in billions of Kenya shillings. This is a huge loss to the economy and is unsustainable.”

Head of Security at Kenya Power Paul Nyaga noted that high demand for copper drives vandalism. “Ready market in India and China, unemployment, lenient sentencing of offenders, high prices for copper in the black market, multiple uses and quick disposal of the products drives vandalism,” Mr Nyaga said adding that copper attracts up to Sh1,700 per kilogrammes in the black market.

As a way to mitigate cases of vandalism, the power distributing company has proposed a total ban on copper exports, reiterating that Kenya exported copper waste and scrap metal worth Sh6.7 billion in 2023, despite not producing the same.

Speaking at the event, Scrap Metal Council Chief Executive David Rono noted that a scrap metal dealership remains a lucrative business with huge potential. 

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