KPLC losing millions of shillings to vandalism

By Osinde Obare

The Kenya Power Company has lost a total of 1,950 power transformers and other equipment worth millions of shillings through vandalism and theft in the past year across the county.

The company is alarmed and warns that the power interruptions have ruined the economy to a tune of Sh3 billion.

The company blames the current frequent power disruptions on vandalism of transformers by cartels


An official with the firm, Mr Alex Ambok told The County Weekly that Trans-Nzoia County had lost 15 transformers in the past three months, interrupting power distribution in the region.

“The company has lost 1,950 power transformers between June 2011 and June 2012 to vandalism and theft and the vice is higher in the North Rift region. The vandalism has caused frequent blackouts,” said Ambok.

Early this year police in Kitale managed to gun down three people who were found destroying a transformer at Maili Saba area. The thieves engaged the police in a fire exchange before they were killed.

Last week, traders in Kitale protested against frequent power blackouts which have resulted to destruction of property and loss of business.

Led by Mahidra Khedias, the businessmen urged Kenya Power to put in place measures to curb the problem.

Residents complained that the frequent power disruptions had damaged and destroyed electronic machines and equipment to a tune of millions of shillings.

“My business has been grounded after machines worth Sh300,000 were damaged by power blackouts. I need to replace the machines in order to resume the business,” protested John Kamau, who runs a wielding business.


In West Pokot County, more than 100,000 residents have been left without electricity after thieves stole five transformers worth over Sh10 million in the past three week.

District Youth leader Shakemer Lokimoi said businessmen in Kapenguria and Makutano township are counting losses running into millions of shillings every day due to the theft of the transformers in Bendera, Murkwijit, Chewoyet and Psigirio villages last week.

Lokimoi lamented that hotels, cyber cafes, barber shops, supermarkets, welding shops, honey and dairy processors were losing over Sh5 million daily due to lack of electricity in their business premises.


The youth leader said business operators, financial and learning institutions and health facilities were spending huge amounts of money in buying fuel to run generators so as to keep their businesses afloat.

Some institutions that have been badly affected by the vandalism of transformers are Chewoyet High School, Tartar Girls High School and Nasokol Girls Secondary Schools and Kapenguria District Hospital that serves as a referral hospital in the larger Pokot Region.

A reliable source at the Kapenguria KPLC offices said the power distributor was losing Sh3 million daily due to the theft of transformers.

Mr. Shedu Korellach, a barber at Makutano said he spends Sh3,000 on fuel and expressed disgust over the theft of the transformers in the area.

He asked the company to employ local youths to guard the transformers and relocate the remaining to safer areas and near people’s homes to avoid being stolen by armed gangsters.

“We are appealing to Kenya Power to replace the lost transformers so as to restore normal electricity supply to schools and business premises so as to avoid businesses collapsing in the county,” said Kochella

The district chairman of the Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry Wallace Tumkou called on the police and the company management to crackdown on the gangsters who have invaded remote villages so as to steal transformers.

“The massive security operation conducted by the company personnel with the help of police has forced transformer thieves to run from big towns to rural towns. We are appealing to KPLC to employ jobless youths so as to provide security to transformers in remote villages and help curb the vice,” Tumkou said in Makutano.

The Minister of Information and Communications Samwel Poghisio said the theft of transformers by well organised robbers amounted to economic sabotage in the county.


The Minister asked the local security team, the county provincial administration and the KPLC management to take swift measures and beef up security in places where the company had installed transformers so as to curb further thefts of the transformers.

“We are alarmed by the theft of transformers. The district has been thrown into darkness and businesses and learning services have been affected badly due to the theft,” Poghisio said.