•The petitioners allege that the connections are done with the blessings of Kenya Power officers on the ground.
•The slum residents want the Senate to intervene, saying the illegal connections that are ubiquitous in the area are killing their children.
Senators on Tuesday began probing frequent power blackouts in Mukuru slums, saying they would summon the Kenya Power management to respond to the concerns.
The Energy Committee chaired by Nyeri Senator Wahome Wamatinga made the call following a petition by residents of the slum which was presented by Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna.
“These people have suffered unreliable electricity supplies for long, impacting negatively on their businesses. We have to bring the management of Kenya Power to the committee to respond to these issues,” Sifuna said.
The slum residents want the Senate to intervene, saying the illegal connections that are ubiquitous in the area are killing their children.
They lament that the slum has been isolated, with few households legally connected to the mains grid – which they called formal electricity.
“Residents rely on informal electricity suppliers who charge exorbitant prices for unsafe and unreliable power,” the petitioners led by Roseline Asena said.
They told the Energy Committee that the illegal connections have led to power overload, sparking fires from time to time – eight incidents recorded in November alone.
“The illegal connections have resulted in high electrocution rates of humans and animals, especially during the rainy season. The naked wires on the ground are not visible, causing injuries and death,” she said.
The petitioners allege that the connections are done with the blessings of Kenya Power officers on the ground.
“They work and report directly to the area chiefs and it is a highly protected cartel by police officers in the area,” Asena told the Senators.
She added that the power lines and transformers are not enough to serve the community sufficiently, efficiently, and securely.
“Mukuru population is about 700,000 people and most of its areas are not served by any transformer. This has led to most residents opting to use the illegal power and other unreliable energy in our shanty structures,” the petitioner stated.
Asena, who was accompanied by various officials of Mukuru People’s Manifesto team, said there are no clearing reporting and response mechanisms whenever incidents are reported.
They want the Senate to compel Kenya Power to provide formal power connections to each household, after an upgrade of the existing power infrastructure.
The petitioners also want the immediate disbandment of the cohort of individuals they say comprise Kenya Power officers and power cartels sprawling the slum.
“We want a functional KPLC reporting and response centre at ward level to be unveiled as soon as possible,” the petitioners said.