NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 17 – Six people have been arrested for treacherous consumption of electrical energy in the last two days following intensified surveillance by Kenya Power officials.
Kenya Power’s Acting Security Services Manager Geoffrey Kigen said the investigations have helped them make good progress in dealing with theft of electricity.
“We have teams on the ground carrying out verification of connections alongside new connections.” he said.
Kenya Power is currently implementing the Last Mile Connectivity Project that is aimed at increasing the rate of access to electricity countrywide by reducing the connection fees to Sh15,000.
Kigen said that criminals have taken advantage of these projects to lure unsuspecting Kenyans into fraudulent deals for power connection.
Two of the suspects who are part of a group that constructs illegal lines, were arrested at Keragia area in Kenyenye Sub County of Kisii County and booked at Ogembo Police Station.
He said the suspects are part of a wider gang that has taken advantage of the ongoing exercise to accelerate power connection to households across the country, thereby illegally acquiring money from unsuspecting members of the public in exchange for illegal connections.
“We have found out that criminals are promising to connect households for about Sh10,000 exclusive of the cost of poles and conductors which the victim has to bear” said Kigen.
A joint team from Kenya Power’s Security and Operations and Maintenance Departments has recovered two spans of aluminium conductors providing illegal power supply to the Fuata Nyayo slum in Nairobi County. Efforts to trace, arrest and prosecute the culprits are ongoing.
In Webuye, Bungoma County, a woman was arrested after she was found fraudulently consuming electrical energy. Three other people were arrested in Saika Estate, Nairobi County for self-reconnection after they were disconnected for not paying their bills.
“We urge members of the public to be vigilant and report suspicious deals to Kenya Power, police or other authorities to facilitate quick action,” said Kigen.
He said beyond posing a threat on Kenya Power’s revenue, illegal power connections undermine the stability of the electricity distribution network and trigger supply challenges in addition to posing health hazards such as electrocution.
The company is implementing the Global Partnership on Output Based Aid (GPOBA) project targeting informal settlements at a connection fee of Sh1,160 to weed out illegal power connections in these areas.