The Kenya Power and Lighting Company CEO Benard Ngugi has urged the National Government Administration Officers to partner with the Company officials at the County level with a view to prevent Public death and Safeguard electricity infrastructure.
In a statement read by Busia County Kenya Power Business Manager John Ondimu, Ngugi noted that there has been an increase in cases of electrocution in tandem with increased connectivity across the country.
He stated that poor wiring in customer premises contributed to 24 per cent, illegal connections 16 per cent, structures and buildings near power lines 12 per cent and deliberate acts contributing 11per cent.
“The ten most affected counties are Nakuru, Nairobi Makueni, Kericho, Kisii, Kisumu, Uasin Gishu , Nyamira, Migori and Kiambu,” he said adding that Nakuru is currently leading with 11 per cent across the country, followed by Kiambu at 7 per cent.
The official stated that Busia was included because it had a high rise in cases in the recent past adding that illegal connections and theft of electricity also increases the cost of power to customers as the loses are also factored into the tariffs.
“To address the worrying trend in public electrocution, we are carrying out a public sensitization campaign to enhance the awareness through partnership with the mainstream media and NGAO across the country to pass the message that unsafe electricity can result to death,’ he said.
The Kenya Power Manager in charge of Safety, Health and Environment John Guda reiterated that there was a worrying trend in cases of electrocution across the country.
“In 2018/19 financial year we lost 149, in 2019/20 financial year while this year up to March we have lost 93,” he said.
Guda cited poor wiring at customer premises as the major concern adding that people use quacks during the construction. He advised the locals to access KPLC website or approach the nearby offices to access qualified and registered electricians.
“If you do proper wiring, then these problems will not occur,” he said adding that the quacks do not follow the standards of wiring in the houses.
The official further stated that illegal connections and illegal extensions contribute to 16.28 per cent of electrocution cases and advised the locals to make applications through Kenya Power offices.
The Western Kenya Regional Manager of Kenya Power and Lighting Company Chief Security officer Zachary Ombati expressed concern at the increasing rate of loss of transformers in the area.
Ombati said that a total of 20 transformers have been stolen from January this year to date with Busia County alone losing four transformers.
He added that the incidents in Busia alone have made the Company to lose around Sh 3 million excluding the cost of repairs. “So the cost may go up to Sh 6 million in Busia County alone,” he said adding that the amount is enough to connect a whole village to the grid.
The official urged the NGAO team to support the company and ensure that the transformers are safe.
Ombati also stated that there was an increase in theft of electricity meters being used to construct illegal lines in the neighborhood.
“We are working very closely with the DCI team and a number of the suspects have been arrested and taken to court,” he said adding that if proven guilty, the convicts risked being sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.
Busia County Commissioner John Korir expressed commitment in working with the Kenya Power team in articulating issues affecting the local residents.
Korir urged the company leadership to sensitize chiefs who will use public barazas to sensitize local residents at the grassroots level.
The forum brought together the seven Deputy County Commissioners and their Assistants from Busia County, Kenya Power and Lighting Company Officials from both County, Regional and National level.
By Salome Alwanda