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Kenya: Utility staff under threat over illegal connections

On Tuesday, two Kenya Power employees were attacked along EPZ road within the Kitengela area whilst removing cut-outs which had been confiscated.

The intention of the three suspects, who were arrested and sent to Kitengela Police Station, was to reconnect themselves illegally to the power network.

The suspects, Godwish Okoth, a caretaker of the plot where the incident happened, together with Rachel Dablon and Rosemary Muthoni, attacked two Kenya Power staff who had gone to disconnect electricity supply at the premises over an accumulated debt of Sh66,000 ($648).

According to the utility, the two women are yet to be arraigned in court. Okoth was released on a cash bail of Sh150,000 ($1,400) pending a hearing of the case at a later date.

Kenya: utility revenue drive

Kenya Power is carrying out a nationwide revenue collection exercise that involves disconnecting power over pending bills and dismantling illegal power lines.

The Company urges affected customers to make full payments at Kenya Power authorised pay points and seek reconnection from offices across the country as it is illegal to carry out self-reconnection.

Clamping down on crime

In October, Kenya Power disclosed the court ruling following the arrest of a man charged for illegal activity.

After being caught for arranging illegal power connections, Geoffrey Kiberenge was arrested in Bungoma on 19 October and booked in Bungoma Police Station before appearing in court.

He will serve a 10 year imprisonment in default of the $49,319 fine.

At the time of this announcement, the utility said that within two weeks, 60 people had been arrested countrywide and charged in court for various offences, mostly illegal connections.

This followed concerted efforts by Kenya Power security personnel to crack down on illegal connections, unauthorised reconnections, vandalism and theft of electricity.

Kenya Power MD and CEO, Dr Ben Chumo, said at the time: “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.”

Chumo concluded: “We urge our customers to make all payments for electricity connection at the Company’s offices, request for reconnection after disconnection and report any suspicious activity to our nearest offices, to the police and provincial administration.”

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.