, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 9 – Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter has opposed amendments to the Energy Bill, 2015 which would compel Kenya Power to compensate its consumers for losses incurred during outages that last more than three hours on the same day.
Keter said the amendments introduced by Mvita Member of Parliament Abdulswamad Nassir were, “ambiguous” and “vague” and should therefore not pass the mediation phase of consideration in Parliament. “Suppose it (an electricity pole) is knocked down by a lorry?”
“We didn’t expect it to happen,” Keter said of the adoption of the amendments by the National Assembly in April. “We even gave our objection to Senate,” to whom it was forwarded for review.
Another reason Keter gave in his call for the amendments to be discarded was that the public was not given the opportunity to weigh-in as they were introduced on the floor of the National Assembly.
“It was just amended on the floor of the House so it never went through what we call public participation and we really object to that.”
The amendments, “shall apply to power outages and surges and that exceed a cumulative three hours within a twenty four hour period. Where a consumer incurs financial loss, the licensee shall compensate the consumer by incorporating the compensation into the consumer’s bill by way of subsidy which shall, be an amount equivalent to the loss incurred as presented by the consumer and agreed by the licensee.”
Also speaking on a field trip to the Suswa sub-station on Tuesday, Keter’s Principal Secretary Engineer Joseph Njoroge said the awareness within government that urgent measures needed to be taken to address costly power outages, had led to hundreds of millions worth of investment in transmission infrastructure.
“These investments of transmission lines are in excess of Sh200 billion,” he said.
READ: No more ‘monkey’ business, Keter says of nationwide blackouts
As far as electricity distribution is concerned, Kenya Power Managing Director Ben Chumo said significant strides had already been made and continue to be made in the effort to provide a stable power supply.
“We have 993 feeders across the entire distribution network. As we speak today we have narrowed down to 200 of them which we consider are problem feeders and in a very short time, one and a half months we should have been able to put aside 20 per cent of the feeders that give us 80 per cent of the problems.
Adding, “We have come down from an average of nine hours in terms of average response time per thousand customers to four hours now, down by 50 percent.”