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September 27, 2017

KPLC now fights reports of fake customers data

Electricity pole with wire connection from it to different houses in Mukuru Kwa Reuben slums on Tuesday,December 15.//COLLINS KWEYU
Electricity pole with wire connection from it to different houses in Mukuru Kwa Reuben slums on Tuesday,December 15.//COLLINS KWEYU

The Kenya Power management has dismissed allegations that it has “cooked numbers” of new electricity connections to fit the Jubilee administration’s target of 70 per cent connectivity at the end of its first term.

This follows news reports in one of the dailies based on leaked internal communication that about one million of the connections from 3.6 million new customers could be fake or have never been topped up.

Acting managing director Ken Tarus and board chairman Kenneth Marende yesterday strongly defended the near monopoly utility company over the alleged misrepresentation of facts about customers connected.

The management has blamed non-vending customers for rendering their prepaid meters dormant, dismissing claims that it is giving wrong electricity connectivity figures.

Tarus said 490,668 customers are connected with power, but they have not vended for some time. Vending is the buying of electricity tokens by a customer for a prepaid meter.

“Most of the customers who are beneficiaries of the World Bank’s Global Partnership of Output Based Aid, and the Last Mile Connectivity programmes are largely from informal settlements whose monthly consumption is two units on average. As a result, most of them take long to exhaust the initial pre-loaded units,” said Tarus during a press conference at the company’s Nairobi headquarters.

This, he said adding to the increased number of new constructions in the country, has led to the installation of pre-paid meters even before full occupation of houses.

“Movement of tenants has resulted to a number of installed meters not vending for the period of non-occupancy. Illegal connections and bypassing of our meters has also seen a number of our prepaid metres not vending,” Tarus said.

KPLC says it has connected 5.9 million customers to the grid to date through ongoing government-led national electrification programmes. Of these, 3.5 million are on prepaid meters.

“The number of connected customers is accurately captured on a daily basis in our system. KPLC has therefore not lied to the government as reported,” he said, “Vending of prepaid meters is not the same as non-connection or no connections.”

KPLC is now mulling over phasing out topped up pre-paid meters during new connections, where customers will be required to top-up first as opposed to the current meters which come with units.

Marende said the company remains focused in achieving government targets.

“I confirm that this figures are real and that they have been scientifically in mathematical terms been checked. This year we have a target of 1.5 million and I can confirm that we are on course to achieve that target,” he said.

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