On Wednesday, a Kenya Power employee was caught constructing an unauthorised line in Kabati Township, Kitui with a member of the public.
Alfonse Mutuku Kingoo, a driver for the operations and maintenance section at Kenya Power’s Kitui office, and Timothy Kalea Kisangu, a member of the public, were arrested by the utility security around noon.
They have been booked in at Kabati Police Station, where they will be taken to court today to appear before the judge.
A search for the third suspect, the targeted customer, who escaped during the raid has been launched, the utility said in a statement.
Kenya Power, fighting a constant battle
According to the utility, this incidence comes just a week after two middle aged men were arrested in Donholm Esate, Nairobi, for impersonating Kenya Power staff, disconnecting power supply to customers’ premises and demanding a bribe for reconnection.
“Criminals have taken advantage of the exercise to extort money from members of the public,” the utility stressed in statement.
They added: “[We] urge customers to make all payments for electricity connection at the Company’s offices and report any suspicious activity to our nearest offices, to the police and provincial administration.”
Illegal connections undermine the reliability of power supply as they overload the distribution network and result in unplanned outages and may cause injury or death.
In addition, victims of such exercises are exposed to unsafe electricity connections and suffer financial losses once the illegal lines are discovered and destroyed.
Despite fighting a continuous battle against crime and vandalism, utility morale was high this week after they company announced it had achieved $118 million in profit pre-tax for the year ended June 30 2016.
According to the company CEO, Dr Ben Chumo, the level of profitability has been achieved as a result of the sustained favourable business environment, the utility noted in a statement.
The power company explained that electricity sales grew by 3.6% from 7,130 million units in the previous year to 7,385 million units in the period under review.
Chumo said: “This, combined with an improved average yield, led to 11.9% increase in sales revenue, from Sh77.8 billion [$768 million] the previous year to Sh88 billion [$867 million].”
The company added that the power purchase cost excluding fuel cost and foreign exchange increased by Sh6.9 billion [$68.9 million] to Sh51.4 billion [$502 million] due to increase in energy charges resulting from growth in unit purchases.
However, the fuel cost decreased by Sh13 billion [$128 million] to Sh12.7 billion [$118 million] due to increased reliance on geothermal and hydro sources during the year.