In East Africa, the publicly listed power company Kenya Power announced that it will employ around 500 energy students to support its 700-person strong meter reading team in a bid to correct estimated customer bills, detect cases of meter tampering and recover accumulated debt of $42 million.
Kenya Power’s managing director and CEO Dr. Ben Chumo said the majority of the students come from the Institute of Energy Studies and Research (formerly Kenya Power Training School) and other technical colleges located near the company’s branches in various parts of the country.
“Despite the revenue collection billed against accounts standing at an impressive 99%, low meter reading coverage averaging 66% has, over the years, led to the accrued debt. Our monthly revenue collection averages at $106 million,” Chumo said in a statement.
Chumo added that the campaign will also “address customer complaints arising from estimated power bills; enhance Kenya Power’s sales; secure its revenue and in addition ensure sustainability of its business.”
Kenya Power to install smart meters
In an attempt to reduce incorrect billing, Kenya Power has also announced plans to launch a smart meter pilot project in Runda, Kariobangi and Nairobi’s central district.
Standard Digital reported that users whose electricity consumption is higher than 1,000 units a month have been selected for the new connections.
Chumo attributes reasons for low meter reading coverage to inaccessible meter boxes, which are often located in locked residential premises, as well as inadequate human resources to match the growing number of customers (3.2 million at present), Kenya Power said in a statement.