WANT REFUND

Residents protest 'illegal' Sh500 Kakamega water penalty

Customers say fine not approved by regulatory authority, call it illegal revenue stream

In Summary

 

  • Kakamega County Urban Water and Sanitation Corporation CEO Abdi Kadiri admits there have been many complaints
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya
Image: FILE

 

Kakamega residents have protested against the county government over charges imposed on delayed payments of water bills.

Some 128 residents have been connected to supply by the Kakamega County Urban Water and Sanitation Corporation (KACUWASCO). The company has imposed a Sh500 monthly penalty for late payment of bills.

The penalty is for the restoration of supply to clients whose supply was cut off for nonpayment. The company says the money will cater for the time, transport and other aspects of the service.

Residents from Tindinyo, Shinyalu, Butere, Mumias and Lumakanda subcounties have written to the corporation terming the penalty an illegal revenue stream.

Some have threatened to take legal action against the firm.

They said the penalty has not been approved by the Water Services Regulatory Board and want the money collected refunded. The agency started charging the penalty in October last year. 

"When you apply for water connection you pay a deposit fee, what is the purpose of that fee? It is to serve as security for that connection which is mostly more than three month's bill," a customer said.

Some said they are forced to pay a standard Sh320 monthly fee even for months when the taps are dry. The standard fee applies to all with water accounts.

The agency serves about 300,000 people.

The corporation's CEO Abdi Kadiri admitted there were several complaints by clients over the penalty.

"We supply water for two months and give the clients a notice for 14 days failing which we impose the penalty," Kadiri said.

He said the decision was implemented by the corporation to avoid disruption of supply to customers during the Covid-19 period.

"We are in the business of supplying water and not disconnections. We want our customers to be happy. In fact, a customer satisfaction survey we carried out last year shows that over 70 per cent of our clients are happy with our services," he said.

In March last year, the county government suspended all disconnections of water supply over the Covid-19 pandemic for three months.

 

Edited by P.O