Treasury Exposes How Outdated KPLC Lines Led to Expensive Tokens

Photo collage between Kenya Power transmission lines and tokens meter
Photo collage between Kenya Power transmission lines and tokens meter.

The National Treasury exposed how outdated equipment at Kenya Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) compelled consumers to buy electricity tokens at hiked prices.

According to the Draft 2023 Budget Policy Statement released on Wednesday, January 18, the Treasury, led by Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u, attributed high electricity prices to old transmission lines.

Besides the transmission lines, the Treasury indicated that ageing distribution lines and transformers contributed to expensive electricity.

Kenya Power workers repair a transformer on the Meru-Makutano road on March 28, 2016.
Kenya Power workers repair a transformer on the Meru-Makutano road on March 28, 2016.
Kenya Power

The policy statement further blamed frequent power blackouts on the old and unreliable KPLC equipment.

"While generation capacity and total electricity connections has increased considerably in recent years, electricity in the country remains expensive and unreliable," the draft policy statement read in part.

"One of the key contributors to both the cost and quality of power is the ageing transmission and distribution network," it added.

The expose came amidst national blackouts and complaints over substandard equipment, which resulted in various accidents.

However, President William Ruto's administration pledged to revamp KPLC's infrastructure to protect consumers from high power costs.

"The government will mobilise the resources needed to revamp the transmission and distribution network," The Kenya Kwanza administration stated through the Draft Budget Policy Statement released for public participation.

Besides revamping the KPLC lines, Ruto announced plans to end Kenya Power's monopoly by accelerating geothermal resources development; and developing Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) storage facility in Mombasa.

The new power sources will end the country's over-reliance on KPLC and even shied consumers from expensive power charges.

"This will also contribute to meeting Kenya’s emission reduction commitments," the policy statement read in part.

To protect KPLC from losses, the government also announced plans to compel the utility firm to publish system and financial reports quarterly.

"The Government will delink development initiatives from Kenya Power and let the company operate on commercial principles. A policy, regulatory and financing framework for off-grid community-owned development projects (mini and micro-grids) will be instituted," the Kenya Kwanza administration stated.

Kenya Power staff at work
Kenya Power staff attending to a transformer during a past maintenance exercise in Nairobi County.
Kenya Power
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