•The KPLC team was to face MPs on audit queries but were adjudged as not prepared.
• Whereas the meeting was slated for 9.30am, the power utility bosses brought documents for reference in the meeting 30 minutes to the start of the deliberations.
Kenya Power bosses were on Thursday kicked out of a parliamentary committee for being unprepared for the meeting, where it emerged the government owes the power utility Sh19 billion.
This was after the managers failed to adequately explain why the power distributor was continually making losses yet charging customers hefty amounts in electricity bills.
MPs at the Public Investments Committee on Commercial Affairs and Energy also sent away the team that was led by Kenya Power's acting managing director Geoffrey Muli after they submitted documents late.
Whereas the meeting was slated for 9.30am, the power utility bosses brought documents for reference in the meeting 30 minutes to the start of the deliberations.
“How do you expect us to interrogate these documents when we have not even studied them?” Kaloleni MP Paul Katana, a member of the Pokot South MP David Pkosing-led committee, asked.
Muli was before the lawmakers to explain audit questions raised by the Auditor General, including the negative working capital the utility firm has posted since 2014.
He said the losses followed an investment that the utility firm entered into in anticipation the country’s power production capacity was bound to increase to 5,000 megawatts.
"We had to bear the burden of the credit to our investors. Since 2019, however, the working capital has been improving," Muli explained.
He said government agencies owe the power firm Sh19 billion in unpaid reimbursements that the National Treasury collects on its behalf.
It emerged at the meeting that when one pays a power bill, the money goes to the National Treasury which then reimburses Kenya Power.
Muli also told Parliament that they have written to Treasury to release the Sh19 billion the utility is owed.
But MPs dismissed the explanation, saying it was generic and not satisfactory.
Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi termed the response as a joke, saying if it was in another country, the KPLC leadership would have been hanged for economic sabotage.
The MP further expressed concerns about the revolving doors at Kenya Power's CEO office where holders don’t last.
“Why does the company change managing directors frequently? We believe the board of directors could be part of the problem at KPLC,” Wandayi said.
He said when the team appears next, they would be required to be accompanied by the chairperson of the board.
“Come with the chair of the board. We want to know why they change managing directors like clothes. Who are the forces behind these shenanigans? Kenya Power is a cash cow that has been milked for too long, we must unmask them,” the Ugunja MP said.
PIC Commercial Affairs and Energy chairman Pkosing read a riot act to the leadership in resonance with the other committee members who lamented the casual manner in which they handled the queries.
“The thinking of Kenyans and this Parliament is that power cartels are benefiting from milking Kenyans. Why is power being overpriced? Why is KPLC dying? Why is KPLC making losses yet it is a monopoly?" Pkosing asked.
The power bosses are expected to appear before the committee in two weeks to defend themselves against the issues flagged by the Auditor General.
Kenya Power faces queries on why the management has not achieved any meaningful results from the initiatives undertaken to turn the utility around to profitability.
MPs want to conduct a review into the high capacity charge on power purchase agreements, which is blamed for costly electricity in the country.
The probe is also on why it costs Kenya Power Sh5.3 per KWh to buy power from KenGen, while it costs the company an average Sh15.5 per KWh from other Independent Power Producers.
Of concern for the watchdog team is that some IPPs supplied power for as high as Sh195 per KWh while the same was sold at an average of Sh15.6 per KWh.
MPs further seek to probe power losses in the system which they said has been persistent for the past four financial years.
Also to be probed are the challenges with the implementation of the last mile connectivity project, citing a number of weaknesses and governance lapses.