Kenya Power ordered to pay victim Sh14m after electrocution

Kenya Power Engineer instalsl a transformer in Kiriguri village, Manyatta Constituency of Embu County. [Murithi Mugo, Standard]

Kenya Power has been ordered to pay a man Sh14.2 million for electrocution.

This is after Justice Lucy Njuguna found that the company was 100 per cent liable for the accident.

Salesio Macharia told the Embu High Court that he was walking to the shop along the Karie-Kabururu Road on February 17, 2022, when the accident occurred.

He said that he was electrocuted by live electric cables negligently left lying bare on the ground by the company or its employees, officers or agents.

According to Macharia, it was getting dark and visibility was poor so he did not see the fallen wires and when he touched them, he fell unconscious and woke up in the hospital.

He was taken to the Embu Level 5 hospital and he was referred to the Kerugoya Level 4 hospital before being referred to Our Lady of Lourdes Karira Hospital.

Macharia suffered burns on his chest and hands which led to the amputation of his left hand.

He produced reports from two doctors with Dr Koome Guantai noting that he had suffered 80 per cent physical disability while Dr John Michuki gave an account of future medical expenses to be incurred.

Kenya Power filed a statement of defense denying claims made by Macharia but did not participate in the hearing.

They said he knowingly disregarded alternative routes and therefore touched the live wires.

“I note that the defendant did not participate in the hearing and no reason was given for the same,” said Justice Njuguna.

Macharia told court that KPLC should be held liable for the accident given their failure to appear in court and that he was not cross-examined to rebut his evidence.

He sought to be paid Sh4.5 million for disability given the trauma suffered, limb loss, general nature of the injuries and the three-month hospital stay.

Dr Michuki recommended a Sh13 million award for future medical expenses after assessing that he required a prosthesis worth Sh10 million with an annual maintenance fee of Sh100,000.

Justice Njuguna noted that what Macharia had presented in court could only be determined on a balance of probabilities.

“According to section 53(5) and (8) the Energy Act No. 12 of 2006, the defendant bears the obligation of exercising due care in installing or removing its electric cables and where for any reason the wires are exposed or are lying along a street, the site should be secured/cordoned off and adequately lit,” said the Judge.

She said that the failure by KPLC to rebut Macharia’s evidence left her with no option but to hold the company liable for the injuries and loss suffered.

She awarded him Sh254,748 for special damages, Sh4 million for general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenities and Sh10 million for future medical expenses.

“The plaintiff has failed to prove loss of earnings and so the same will not be awarded by this court,” said the judge.