MPs approve bill to force Kenya Power pay consumers for outages
Posted by African Press International on April 29, 2016
By Alphonce Shiundu
Updated Friday, April 29th 2016 at 14:41 GMT +3
Nairobi: MPs made last-minute changes to the Energy Bill to force Kenya Power to pay consumers for power outages, especially those outages last for over three hours within a day.
They said the government-controlled Kenya Power, which holds the monopoly for electricity supply in the country, has to issue an alert at least 24 hours before power supply is interrupted.
The angry MPs approved the amendment on Thursday night shortly after the heavy rains had caused a blackout at Parliament buildings, interrupting the sitting of the Senate and that of the National Assembly.
Mr Abdulswamad Sherriff (Mvita) sponsored the amendment to the Energy Bill, 2015 .
“…a licensee shall be liable to compensate a consumer where due to power outages, poor quality, irregularity of electricity supply or negligence, the consumer incurs financial loss; suffers from physical injuries; or any other case,” said Abdulswamad.
The MP rallied his colleagues to ensure that the only time Kenya Power does not pay is if the power outages are a result of rains, floods and other natural causes.
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“Where a consumer incurs financial loss, the licensee shall compensate the consumer by incorporating the compensation into the consumer’s bill by way of a subsidy which shall be an amount equivalent to the loss incurred…” said the MP.
The presumption of the amendment is that the consumer and the Kenya Power will sit down, assess the damage and agree on the amount to be paid.
“The amount paid as compensation… shall not be less than the amount the consumer would have paid the licensee, for power consumed for the period during which there was a power outage,” the amendment reads.
Kenya Power apologized for the power outage that hit Nairobi as a result of the heavy rains on Thursday.
“The heavy rains that started late in the afternoon have interrupted electricity supply and distribution systems in parts of the city. Customers affected include those residing in Eastlands, Umoja, Donholm, Komarock, the lower side of the CBD, Riverside drive and surrounding areas… Kenya Power highly regrets any inconvenience the interruptions have caused to the customers and requests for patience as the restoration exercise is underway,” the power company said in a statement
Kenya Power has at least 2.6 million customers, to whom it supplies electricity. It also has a statutory mandate to build and maintain power supply infrastructure in the country.
The bill now goes to the Senate for review.