NAIROBI, August 7 – The Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) has revealed that it is in consultations with several banks to work out how to advance loans to people wishing to get electricity connections.
The firm’s Managing Director Eng Joseph Njoroge told Capital Business News on Thursday that the partnerships would help them address high connection charges, which are some of the key factors that have deterred Kenyans from getting connected.
He said Equity Bank and Cooperative Bank were some of the institutions that had expressed interested in working out a model on how to advance credit to potential customers.
“Once Equity and KPLC come up with a program, I’m sure very many other banks will join in,” expressed the newly appointed MD.
The government has in recent years implemented several measures to encourage people to get connected.
In September 2007, it reduced the connection charges for the rural populace by half in a bid to increase the penetration rate and expand its access.
In 2005, KPLC was connecting an average of 60,000 customers per year but the number has grown to 120,000 in 2007.
Njoroge said this move would also enable them to achieve the target to connect 140,000 customers by the end of the 2008/2009 financial year.
The electricity connection rate in Kenya is a paltry 20 percent, compared to Ghana’s 50 percent and 84 percent in Zimbabwe.
“The government has already given us a target of connecting one million customers for the next five years and we are working hard to live up to that expectation,” he added.
Njoroge revealed that the utility firm would soon be deploying its staff to various parts of the country as part of a programme that aims to improve relations with its customers.
At the same time, he said that he expected the government’s move to ban the importation of scrap metal, copper and aluminium to go a long way in the fight against stemming out the vice.
Since 2004, direct loss of replacement fee for stolen items has cost the company Sh1 billion.
He expressed fears that the figure would rise to Sh1.5 billion by the end of 2008 as the trend has over the last few months increased rapidly.
However, Njoroge said their campaign against vandalism dubbed “Mulika Mwizi” was paying off, especially Nairobi and Kiambu, where they were now recording reduced cases of the crime.