The Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) regional officers have been on a high alert due to an increased theft of transformers, which has been ongoing since September 2020.
According to Uasin Gishu KPLC County Business Manager, Eng. Peter Kamau, at least 29 transformers have been missing throughout the North Rift region. Uasin Gishu County alone has lost 9 transformers which translates to about Sh15 million.
Briefing KNA at a scrap metal junk yard where copper components were retrieved and some suspects arrested over the possession of stolen items, Eng. Kamau said that there has been a huge number of losses recorded within KPLC due to rampant theft of transformers in the region.
He also said that they have been following up and tracing the vandalism made on the transformers, which has interrupted power supply to the region.
Eng. Kamau said a single transformer is valued at Sh 300,000 which brings the total amount of losses to Sh 8.7 million, adding that replacement of lost or even vandalized transformers would incur hefty costs, including the equipment costs thus increasing the amounts.
He also said that the theft of the transformers puts the company at a disadvantage, not only in terms of loss of revenue, but also when producing for its customers as they are the ones that suffer at the end of the retail chain with interrupted power supply and power outages which have equally been reported in the county.
He condemned the acts and noted that he was happy that they were able to nab some suspects with the help of the police, who were present at the junk yard where the metals are processed.
Scrap metal junk yards dealers collect various scrap metals to resell and is a legal business except for non-copper metals. To collect and resell copper, a junk yard dealer has to be licensed and contrary to that is illegal due to the high cost of copper in the market.
Some of the scenes of the crime that are currently under investigation in Uasin Gishu include Tapsagoi, Sportman,Moi barracks, Bayete, Matunda, Kiplombe, Naiberi Ngeria and the most recent one, Ngenyilel. It is important to note that these seven cases of thefts were recorded between March 7, 2021 and April 21, 2021 alone.
Members of the public were urged to act as the watchdog, as KPLC personnel and officials may not always be on the ground when vandalism happens. They were also urged to report any outages and always watch out for any theft or vandalism on transformers.
By Laura Thuo and Hassan Adan Ali