UP SH3.83 PER KWH

Brace for tough times as power bills surge

Numerous taxes on power bills continue to burden Kenyans.

In Summary

• Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority has signalled power bills will surge by at least Sh3.83 per Kwh. 

• Producers have been passing the generating costs uncured when using heavy fuel oil to customers.

A Kenya Power prepaid user loads her metre in Kangemi estate on April 25 last year.
A Kenya Power prepaid user loads her metre in Kangemi estate on April 25 last year.
Image: FILE

Kenyans should prepare for higher power bills as the energy regulator adjusts electricity tariffs amid rising inflation.

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority has signalled that electricity bills will surge by at least Sh3.83 per kilowatt-hour on upward adjustments in key billing components.

“Notice is given that all prices for electrical energy specified in Part II of the said Schedule will be liable to a foreign exchange fluctuation adjustment of plus 21.86 Kenya cents per kWh for all meter readings to be taken in August 2019,” EPRA director general Pavel Oimeke notes in the Gazette Notice dated August 16.

Power bills, which also contain a Water Resource Management Authority (WRMA) levy will increase by cents 1.59 per kWh.

WRMA costs come with the purchase of energy from hydro-power plants.

The latest developments come amid a high cost of living in the country as year-on-year inflation hit a three-month high last month.

The July inflation rose to 6.27 per cent from 5.70 per cent the previous month, Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics(KNBS) data shows. 

This is attributable to increases in prices of food, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages and transport costs.

High power bills are expected to add pressure on households as they dig deeper into their pockets to survive the sky-rocketing cost of living.

The high costs of energy come despite continued investments in renewable energy with the latest being the Lake Turkana Wind Power project launched last month.

Poor power transmission and distribution infrastructure have been blamed for high bills being incurred by the end-user.

In May, power bills hit a five-year high, blamed on the increased usage of thermal power plants in electricity generation.

Producers have been passing the generating costs uncured when using heavy fuel oil to customers.

EPRA's data shows Fuel Cost Charge (FCC) component stood at Sh3.75 per unit of electricity in May from a low of Sh2.50 in August last year when the government announced a new power tariff.

Gitaru, Kiambere and Sondu Miriu remain top generators of hydro power injected to the national grid where according to EPRA, 57.7 million Kwh, 55.8 million Kwh and 44.1 million Kwh were purchased from the three in June respectively.

Total units generated and purchased excluding exports in July, 2019 were 991,104,517 kWh.

Several attempts by the government to bring down the cost of power in the country, including a new pricing structure as well as increased power production from greener and cheaper sources have borne little fruits.

Numerous taxes on power bills continue to burden Kenyans. For instance to purchase a Sh250 Kenya Power token, one will get tokens valued at Sh148 (14.82 Units KWh) with the rest going to taxes.

They include a Sh53.36 fuel index charge, a Sh3.24 forex charge, ERC and WRMA charges of Sh0.44 and 0.23 respectively, a Rural Electrification Program(REP) levy of Sh7.41 and inflation adjustment costs of Sh3.7.