The Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) has launched a crackdown on illegal power connections in various estates in Nairobi and its environs.
Media reports indicated that Nairobi and Kisii counties are leading in illegal power lines. Alluding to this, KPLC Managing Director Bernard Ngugi noted that the exercise would begin in earnest in Nairobi estates.
According to Ngugi, the utility firm loses Ksh9.6 billion annually due to illegal connections. He attributed the rising cases of illegal power connections to unscrupulous KPLC employees who are said to collude with landlords.
An undated file image of KPLC Managing Director Bernard Ngugi during a past function.
So far, the firm has cracked the whip by firing 250 of its employees in a bid to curb the vice. Further, a total of 630 people have been arrested and charged with offenses relating to theft of electricity and fraud.
Out of this, 115 people have been convicted. This, Ngugi affirmed, would continue until all perpetrators are brought to justice.
Further, the managing director addressed the issue of high electricity bills which had been a cause for concern among many Kenyans.
Reports indicate that Kenyans will face the highest electricity bills at the end of March after the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) reviewed its tariffs.
In the new tariffs, the Fuel Cost Charge (FCC) tariff which covers fuel expenses in the generation of electricity rose to Ksh3.54 per unit of power consumed as opposed to the previous rate of Ksh2.61 in February.
Alluding to this, Ngugi urged Kenyans to purchase prepaid tokens to reduce charges charged at every purchase. The news comes as the utility firm brought to light the worrying trend in illegal connections. KPLC pointed out in their annual reports of the billions lost as a result of the upward trend.
Among the measures instituted to curb the vice included a special response team dubbed the Field Enforcement Unit (FEU) to work with various security agencies in the country in order to address the pertinent matter.
An aerial view of Nairobi County