City slum in darkness as Kenya Power cuts illegal connections
Hundreds of families in Mukuru kwa Njenga were plunged in darkness on Thursday after Kenya Power dismantled an illegal power selling racket deep inside the Nairobi slum.
The operation, which is part of a nationwide crackdown on illegal connections, however, raised more questions than answers on how the racket could have gone undetected by the power utility firm for years.
Kenya Power Customer Service Manager Rosemary Oduor, defended the company against accusations of negligence, saying they had embarked on a “paradigm shift” onward to prevent illegal connections.
“There are a number of people who have tapped electricity illegally from these transformers and we are here to weed them out,” said Ms Oduor.
During the crackdown, Kenya Power discovered a 200 KVA ground-mounted transformer that had been hidden in a small stonewalled building from where illegal connections originated.
The disconnection of several transformers left the low-income settlement residents without power.
The power supply is known as “sambaza” and residents said they paid every month to people they described as “agents”.
They wondered why Kenya Power claimed that the connections were illegal yet when there was a fault in any of the transformers, their engineers would repair them.
The crackdown, according to Ms Oduor, will be rolled out in other parts of the country.