Uhuru rejects bill proposing KPLC compensate clients for outages
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.