By Jacktone Lawi
Kenya Power is now seeking harsher penalties for people involved in vandalism of transformers.
The electricity distributor pointed out that is losing hundreds of millions in revenue from vandalism of its transformers, meter tempering and power theft through illegal connection and called for stiffer actions to deal with perpetrators of such crimes.
According to the Company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ken Tarus the firm losses about half a billion from to these vices.
“We are losing KShs 500 million in revenue to vandalism and other related crimes annually. If this is not addressed, it could be quite destructive to our operations and health of business,” Dr. Tarus said.
Dr. Tarus was speaking in Nanyuki when the company’s senior management team met with the parliamentary committee on energy in a stakeholder engagement forum which followed a similar meeting with the magistrates and Kadhis in Naivasha held earlier.
In both meeting various issues affecting the operations of the company were discussed.
“We are calling for these forums as part of our stakeholders’ engagement. What we have realized is that in this business we cannot afford to be alone. The objective of the engagement with both the magistrates and parliamentary committee on energy was to to sensitize them on the impact of vandalism and other offenses in the Energy Act and how these crimes affect the operations of Kenya Power,” Dr. Tarus said.
Parliamentary Committee on Energy chairman Hon. David Gikaria lauded Kenya Power move, terming the meeting ‘very critical’ in assisting the oversight committee execute its mandate.
“The standing orders gives us a mandate to oversight the Ministry of Energy, under which Kenya Power falls. It would be pointless to proceed with our oversight role without clearly understanding how Kenya Power operates and manages itself and also understand some the challenges the company faces in its operations,” said Hon. Gikaria.
“This loss prompted us to initiate sustained surveillance on the network through countrywide operations to crackdown vandalism and illegal connections. Our efforts have borne fruits and we continue to see remarkable reduction in cases of vandalism and illegal connections, though the war is far from over,” Dr. Tarus said, adding that the company will continue to implement strategies for community engagement and formation of long term partnerships with various stakeholders to tame the vices.
In addition to vandalism and other crimes affecting Kenya Power’s operations, the engagement with parliamentary committee on energy and the magistrates also covered the legislative and regulatory framework in the energy sector, Kenya Power’s support to the Government Big 4 agenda, trends and statistics on penalties meted out on convictions for offenses under the Energy Act, Kenya power’s claims procedure and dispute resolution mechanism in the energy sector, among others.