Kenya Power is a monopoly in distribution of power in Kenya. With this monopoly, they have a heavy burden to provide uninterrupted and efficient power to Kenya as failure to do so, Kenyans, Nairobians included, are left under the mercy of candles and non-productivity.
Except a few industries which can run on the expensive and unsustainable diesel energy when there is no power, many residents of Nairobi are suffering as there are frequent power outages in Nairobi County. These power outages are common in other 46 counties too.
However, there is a ray of hope if Marakwet East MP David Bowen fulfills his promise of bringing a Bill in Parliament that will liberalise power distribution in Kenya and consequently break the monopoly that Kenya Power has enjoyed for many years.
Monopoly of power distribution by this company must be broken as it has made the company unresponsive and largely indifferent about the plight of its customers. Further, it has made the company go scot free despite high levels of power outages as once the law regime is changed, power distributors will be compelled to pay customers compensation for power outages.
Since the distributors will made to compensate consumers for power outages and surges, they will consequently increase their productivity and efficiency as failure to do so will attract financial penalties. In addition, breaking of this monopoly will force a competition for customers by the distributors and with such competition, consumers will benefit more as the cost of power and installation will be cheaper and companies will handle customers’ complaints with care.
Today, the manner in which Kenya Power handles customer’s complaints is below average and can largely be attributed to the fact that it enjoys a monopoly in power distribution. Cases of wrong billing are many and if a customer wants a correction of the bill, you must first pay them the incorrect figure before they correct it, that’s if they will. Further, cases of unexplained inconsistent billing are high and lack of pre-paid cards for pre-paid customers.
Therefore, all efforts to break this monopoly must be supported by all Kenyans as it will be of greater good than the current situation. It will not only make power distributors respect the customers but also bring the cost of power down. With lower cost of power, Kenyans will pay less and the cost of basic goods and commodities will go down due to cheaper production costs in the industries.
Above all, cheaper power will make the cost of doing business in Kenya low and sustainable thus attracting both local and international investors. With more investors, the economy will expand thereby creating jobs nationally and at the counties levels for thousands of jobless Kenyans.
Moreover, with more power distributors, many parts of the country that have lacked power connectivity due to politicization of power distribution channels will be opened up thus spurring economic growth. This will promote other economic sectors such as education and health as lack of power in some areas inhibit development of information and communication technology and proper medical care as some health facilities can only be effectively run with power.
Our legislators must therefore legislate laws that will liberalize power distribution in Kenya as this will benefit the country.
(Mwangi is a lawyer firstname.lastname@example.org)