Kenya Power, the leading electricity provider in Kenya, has come under scrutiny for manipulating electricity bills and overcharging customers.
The shocking revelation was made by Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu during her testimony before a parliamentary committee. Her forensic review of electricity generation, transmission, and distribution revealed that bills do not correspond to actual consumption, and extra fees levied by the utility on customers are not traceable in the billing system.
According to Gathungu, nearly 20% of the bill charged to consumers cannot be matched to their actual consumption, and the distribution company is unable to attribute it to a specific consumer. This inconsistency has not been adequately explained by Kenya Power or the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority. It raises serious concerns about the integrity of the billing system and questions the transparency and fairness of Kenya Power’s operations.
The audit conducted by Gathungu’s office also discovered that the calculation of system losses was incorrect. Outdated study reports, incomplete simulations, and arithmetical errors were blamed for the miscalculations. This highlights the importance of accurately assessing and accounting for system losses in order to ensure fair and accurate billing for customers.
Furthermore, Gathungu pointed out numerous instances where check meters were missing, faulty, or showed discrepancies with the main meters. This led to consumers receiving bills that did not match the readings on their own meters. Such discrepancies not only demonstrate the lack of proper monitoring and maintenance on the part of Kenya Power but also raise questions about the reliability of the entire billing process.
The manipulation of electricity bills has far-reaching consequences for consumers in Kenya. Not only are they being overcharged for energy they did not use, but the inflated bills also place an unnecessary financial burden on households and businesses. This, in turn, hampers economic growth and affects the overall welfare of the country.
The power sector plays a crucial role in the development of any nation. Affordable and reliable electricity supply is essential for attracting investments, supporting industrial growth, and improving the standard of living for citizens. However, when the sector is plagued by corruption and malpractices, the benefits of a reliable power supply are undermined.
It is imperative for Kenya Power and the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority to address these issues urgently. They must take immediate steps to investigate and rectify the discrepancies in the billing system. Transparency and accountability should be prioritized, and customers should be provided with accurate and detailed bills that reflect their actual consumption.
Kenya Power has come under scrutiny after an audit revealed significant discrepancies in the monitoring and verification of electricity generation plants. The audit, conducted by the Office of the Auditor General, discovered that out of the 96 generation plants supplying Kenya Power with electricity, only 38 had check meters in place.
What makes this finding even more astonishing is that all 38 of these meters belonged to off-the-grid power plants. This means that the majority of the electricity supplied to Kenya Power was not being accurately measured or monitored. With such a significant gap in the monitoring system, it raises questions about the reliability and accuracy of the electricity measurements provided by these plants.
During a hearing with lawmakers, Ms. Nancy Gathungu, the Auditor General, expressed her concerns regarding the lack of tools available to Kenya Power for verifying the invoices submitted by the independent power producers (IPPs). She highlighted the fact that without primary access to these key indices, both Kenya Power and the IPPs were unable to independently verify the authenticity of the prices listed in the invoices.
This lack of oversight from Kenya Power is a significant cause for concern, as it limits their ability to ensure accurate billing and pricing. It also opens up opportunities for potential fraud or overcharging by the independent power producers. Without access to these key indices, it becomes challenging for Kenya Power to effectively monitor and regulate the industry.
The audit report also revealed that Kenya Power’s system losses were a major contributor to the burden placed on consumers. System losses refer to the electricity lost during transmission and distribution. Ms. Gathungu highlighted that the actual system losses experienced by Kenya Power far exceeded the permitted efficiency loss set by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority and the company.
For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, Kenya Power recorded an efficiency loss of 23.47%, compared to the approved 19% set by Epra. Similarly, for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the actual loss was 23.98%, exceeding the approved 19% threshold. In the most recent fiscal year, 2021-2022, the system loss stood at 22.44% against the permitted efficiency loss of 19%.
These numbers highlight a significant discrepancy between the allowed and actual system losses, which ultimately contributes to higher costs for consumers. This further emphasizes the importance of accurately monitoring and regulating the industry to ensure fair and transparent pricing.
The findings of this audit raise questions about the effectiveness of Kenya Power’s oversight and monitoring mechanisms. It is crucial for the company to address these issues promptly to restore trust and confidence in the electricity sector. Improved monitoring, verification, and access to key indices are necessary to ensure accurate billing and fair pricing for consumers.
Only 38 of the 96 generation plants that supplied Kenya Power with electricity had check meters, according to the auditor. This shocking revelation has only added fuel to the fire of Kenyans’ concerns about excessive power bills. The figures provided by the Auditor-General are alarmingly high and reflect the worries that have long been held by both the committee and the general public.
The additional expense incurred due to these losses is ultimately passed on to the consumers in the form of higher electricity bills. Any loss that exceeds the permitted limit of 19 percent is charged to the consumers, which has become a cause for concern among Kenyans. Despite the management’s claims of making efforts to reduce power losses, there is no evidence of any successful measures taken to improve these recoveries.
Committee chairman Vincent Musyoka stressed the need for Kenya Power and the power provider to share the anticipated losses in the transmission of power. While it is accepted that losses occur during the transmission of electricity, it is crucial for the burden to be equally distributed between the parties involved.
The managing director of Kenya Power, Joseph Siror, acknowledged that losses in power transmission are inevitable. As electricity is transferred from one point to another, there is unquestionably a loss of power. Dr. Siror informed lawmakers that these losses tend to increase as the line length increases. In an effort to mitigate these losses, Kenya Power is collaborating with KenGen and Ketraco to create shorter transmission lines.
Illicit connections also contribute significantly to the losses experienced by Kenya Power. According to Dr. Siror, around 188,000 consumers have paid for meters but are unable to connect due to the unavailability of meters. This lack of access to meters leads some consumers to resort to illegal connections, further exacerbating the problem.