Kenya Power boss on the spot over delayed Sh4 billion connections

Kenya Power CEO Joseph Siror quenches his thirst when he appeared before the National Assembly's Energy Committee on June 30, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Kenya Power (KP) has come under intense scrutiny from MPs due to persistent delays in connecting electricity to 42,965 Kenyans who have collectively paid approximately Sh4 billion.

Among this group, 21,734 Kenyans have paid a total of Sh3,048,656,972 for power connections. Surprisingly, KP had previously marked these connections as completed in their records, but the Auditor General’s office flagged them as incomplete.

Additionally, 21,231 Kenyans paid Sh966,901,128 for electricity connections as far back as 11 years ago, yet they still await service activation.

These revelations surfaced during a session of the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Energy. Kenya Power’s CEO, Joseph Siror, appeared before the committee to address concerns raised by the Auditor General in the Annual Reports and Financial Statements for the year ending June 30, 2023.

Energy Committee Chair Vincent Kawaya pressed the CEO to provide sensible explanations for why clients who had paid remained without access to electricity for years.

“According to the Auditor General’s figures, these 21,231 Kenyans paid approximately 1 billion, with some claims dating back 11 years. How can they still lack value for their money?” questioned Kawaya.

In response, Siror highlighted several challenges that hindered timely connections for thousands of Kenyans. These challenges included prolonged material shortages and various procurement-related legal disputes that disrupted the smooth flow of materials.

“Some customers were affected by changes in government policies regarding connections and the withdrawal of connectivity subsidies in 2013. These customers were subsequently included in the last-mile connectivity program, which has also faced delays in exchequer disbursement,” explained Siror.

“Other reasons for delay in execution is where we are unable to secure wayleaves after customers make payments leading to redesign for new routes and seeking of new wayleaves. However, the company has since been able to initiate implementation of the delayed schemes.”

The House team also took issue with the CEO, seeking to know why electricity connections to 21,231 people who paid Sh3,048,656,972 had been marked as completed in their internal books whereas the situation on the ground was different.

“What is going to happen to the money paid by these Kenyans? Since they did not receive the connections, will they be refunded their money?” posed Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo.

KP’s management however responded: “We do not have a policy touching on how these Kenyans should be compensated. We however engaged them and ensured they were onboarded to the last mile connectivity program.”  

But this only led to more questions.

“First, how do you confirm that these projects were complete? Second, what happened to the money of Kenyans who paid for connectivity but found themselves in the last mile connectivity program?” enquired Kawaya.

Siror, however, explained that the connections had since been made, noting that they had proven the same satisfactorily to the Auditor General.

The AG had raised issue that among the listed connectivity projects, no costs were attributed to them as evidence that the projects had neither been undertaken nor had the company utilised any materials to connect electricity for the customers but were indicated to be complete and closed in the system.

The committee has now directed the power company to furnish it with detailed proof that it undertook the connectivity projects in the constituencies which will then be verified by MPs.

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