MPs demand details of firms in power pre-pay bills overcharge probe

Wednesday March 18 2020

Parliament has ordered Kenya Power to provide details on the directors, costs and contracts of private vendors that offer pre-paid electricity tokens amid complaints they are overcharging consumers.

The Public Investments Committee (PIC) has directed Dr Ken Tarus, the Kenya Power managing director to furnish them with details of the contracts that were awarded to 15 vendors, the charges they are levying, the turnover of business made by each and their directorship.

The electricity distributor has been accused of promoting third party vendors that charge customers more than Kenya Power itself.

VendIt and Dynamo Digital Company have been prominently mentioned for the alleged overcharge.

READ: Turkana power line halt signals high bills

ALSO READ: Kenya Power wins Sh732m City Hall bill claim

Preferential treatment

Wajir East MP Rashid Amin demanded to know why Kenya Power had given the two preferential over its pre-paid pay bill number 8888888.

“We want to know who the directors of these two vendors are and how much money they have collected in commissions since 2010,” Mr Rashid said.

“Kenyans have complained that when you use the services of Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) directly, things don’t work, but when you use the services of vendors who charge more, things work.

“We want to know why Kenyans are losing money when they pay for electricity units through the vendors. We want to know why your service is difficult to access,” Abdulswamad Nassir who chairs PIC said.

Special audit

The enquiry will determine whether Auditor-General Edward Ouko will conduct a special audit on the vendors.

Dr Tarus told MPs that Kenya Power would table all the contract documents and the information sought within a fortnight.

He said despite the hiring of the 15 vendors who include banks, Kenya Power still controls 65 per cent of its operations including token transactions.

“On average, we collect Sh12 billion monthly on electricity sales. Through the use our pay bill number 888888 together with our banking halls, we collect Sh8.5 billion while the rest (Sh4.5 billion) is collected through other models including agents and vendors,” Dr Tarus said.