Uhuru re­jects bill propos­ing KPLC com­pen­sate clients for out­ages

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics -

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta has re­fused to sign a bill to have Kenya Power com­pen­sate cus­tomers for black­outs last­ing more than three hours. Kenya Power is up­grad­ing its sup­ply net­work. Uhuru said the bill should be re­turned to Par­lia­ment for MPs to amend it. The En­ergy Bill 2015, pro­posed by Mvita MP Ab­dul­swa­mad Nas­sir (pic­tured), pro­posed that KPLC pay cus­tomers for any losses caused by black­outs ex­ceed­ing three hours, in case it does not is­sue a 24-hour no­tice prior to such an out­age.

The bill also in­cluded com­pen­sa­tion for phys­i­cal in­juries. It was passed by the Na­tional As­sem­bly and Se­nate be­fore it was for­warded to the Pres­i­dent for as­sent. Nas­sir said the bill was meant to check the com­pany’s con­tact, given that it is a mo­nop­oly. “The whole idea is not to pun­ish any­one. But hon­estly, they need to pull up their socks,” Nas­sir told the Star in a pre­vi­ous in­ter­view.

The com­pen­sa­tion, ac­cord­ing to the bill, was to be paid in the form of a sub­sidy in­cor­po­rated in the cus­tomer’s bill.

Com­pen­sa­tion to those who suf­fer phys­i­cal in­juries was to be de­ter­mined by the court. Com­pen­sa­tion was to be equal to the amount of loss in­curred as pre­sented by the con­sumer and ver­i­fied by KPLC.

The bill, how­ever, cited a few ex­emp­tions in com­pen­sa­tion, such as in case of heavy down­pour and nat­u­ral calami­ties that would cause a power line to fall. The In­ter­na­tional En­ergy Agency last year said Kenyan house­holds and fac­to­ries are plunged into dark­ness for an av­er­age of 25 days ev­ery year due to black­outs.

Kenya Power has at least 2.6 mil­lion cus­tomers. It is the com­pany’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to build and main­tain power sup­ply in­fra­struc­ture . In Septem­ber, KPLC in­tro­duced a new strat­egy aimed at im­prov­ing the qual­ity of its ser­vices. There have been fre­quent rcent out­ages. The five-year project will cost the com­pany Sh22 bil­lion and in­volves up­grad­ing the elec­tric­ity grid and in­tro­duc­ing a re­dun­dant net­work to re­duce power cuts.

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