by Fred Aminga @faminga Kenya Power’s bid to mainstream payments through digital platforms has taken a beating after systems delayed to dispense tokens for more than 48 hours.
The situation caused widespread blackout affecting households and small and micro-enterprises on pre-paid metering system. Complaints about delays has been simmering but deepened last week when affected consumers took to social media to vent out their frustrations.
“It is thirty-two hours since I ordered my first token via 888880, 30 hours since I ordered the next via 501200 and 28 hours since my third and 10 hours since my fourth,” said a customer, who poured his indignation on social media platforms. “Kenya Power system delayed.
Will keep trying and resend your transaction. Queries Call:0709711000,” replied VendIT, one of the vendors selling tokens on behalf of Kenya Power.
However, the barrage of attacks aimed at the power distributor over delays in generating tokens has forced the firm to cool tempers by admitting it is facing technical hitches.
Most complaints came from those using online virtual wallets such as M-Pesa to buy tokens which come with a 20-digit number that is then punched into metres.
This system followed complaints about the amount of time people were taking on queues paying their power bills, a move which led to the adoption of the prepaid digital system currently in use.
But in a temporary return to brick-and-mortar, Kenya Power has now asked customers through text messages to buy tokens from their banking halls as they resolve the matter.
“Dear esteemed customer, we are experiencing delays in prepaid token generation. You can buy tokens from our banking halls countrywide,” read the message.
The firm has, however, not indicated when the system will be normalised leaving consumers in the dark about when they will be able to utilise tokens they have already bought but not dispensed.
“Please bear with us as we resolve the issue. We apologise for the inconvenience caused,” said the short message sent to prepaid customers.
Those in the know say the company has 11 token vendors, however, all experienced delays in what forced some customers to try their luck with more than one merchant.
Most customers who spoke to People Daily said they tried calling the customer care numbers but most were busy. They also said they did not know about all the other nine vendors apart from the main Kenya Power paybill number and two others — Vendit and Dynamo.
“If you’re using Mpesa, go to Lipa na Mpesa, pay bill, enter 888880 as business no, enter 11 digit meter number, enter the amount, enter PIN and press OK. Kindly note ,alternative business no’s are 501200 for Vendit or 800904 for Dynamo,’ read past messages from the utility firm.