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New system set to ease electricity bills processing

Zachary Ochuodho @zachuodho

Kenya Power (KP) has incorporated a new technology system that will allow post-paid customers to self-read meters in a move geared at eliminating the headache of estimated bills based on average consumption.

Energy Cabinet secretary Charles Keter said yesterday that the efficiency of the new system is expected to solve many inaccurate billings that have kicked off a storm with allegations the power distributor was issuing backdated bills.

Keter said 2.4 million consumers had been affected by the new system upgrade which is generating accurate bills that had previously been estimated. “What we are facing is a billing fluctuation following an upgrade in billing systems, which is being resolved on a case to case basis,” he told a media briefing.

He said with the new system that KP has adopted it will now give accurate readings. “The new billing system allows a consumer to self-read their meter and upload on an app on their mobile phone enhancing billing accuracy,” he said while refuting claims the power firm had backdated bills to factor in revised fuel cost adjustment.

“I would like to state that there is no backdating of electricity bills for customers neither is there a change in tariffs.” He said the fuel cost charge has remained fairly stable between 2015 and 2017 despite variations in the international prices of crude oil and fluctuations in foreign exchange.

Keter said the ministry is expected to set a stabilisation fund in three months’ time which will cushion consumers from the high cost of fuel and any factor that could raise the cost of electricity.

The drastic announcement by Keter comes a week after Nairobi lawyer, Apollo Mboya, wrote to Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) protesting abuse of market dominance by Kenya Power to ‘overcharge’.

Mboya alleged that between November and December last year, several consumers received inflated power bills as the firm allegedly sought to recover Sh8.1 billion incurred in running diesel generators.

“Kenya Power was indeed recovering Sh8.1 billion backdated bills from electricity consumers allegedly incurred on diesel generators in the year 2017 but were not factored in the monthly charges,” he wrote adding: “The actions of Kenya Power contravened the provisions of Competition Act by misleading consumers by making false or misleading representation with respect to the price of goods or services contrary to the law.” But yesterday Keter asked customers who had complaints to visit KP offices for assessment and review of their accounts.

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