Kenya Power, ERC now taken to court over new billing structure
By SAM KIPLAGAT
A case has been filed before the High Court seeking to stop Kenya Power company and the Energy Regulatory Commission from implementing the new billing structure.
In the case, lawyer Apollo Mboya said the new structure discriminates against the poor and a significant majority of the domestic consumers while favoring the minority bulk power consumers such as manufacturers and companies.
Mr Mboya, therefore, wants the court to suspend the implementation of the Electricity Retail Tariffs, pending hearing of the application. The lawyer argued that both Kenya Power and ERC have no constitutional mandate to review electricity tariffs.
The new harmonized structure came into effect as from August 1 for the pre-paid users and July 1, for those having post-paid meters.
But Mr Mboya argued that the move is a ploy both Kenya Power and ERC to circumvent a court order which stopped them from recovering backdated bills amounting to Sh10.1 billion.
The temporary orders were issued by Justice Chacha Mwita following an application by Mboya and the Electricity Consumers Society.
The lawyer said Article 27 of the constitution guarantees every person to equal protection and equal benefit of the law and that the state shall not discriminate directly or indirectly against any persons.
But under the new tariff announced by the ERC on Monday, Mr Mboya said poor households that consume less 11-50 kilowatts per month will pay more, compared to those who consume more.
The first 10 units kwh of energy consumed by domestic consumers will now cost Sh 12 each from Sh2.5 previously charged. The regulator removed the Sh150 fixed charge payable to Kenya Power for meter connection, saying it would do away with billing fluctuations.
He said the move meant that for the first 10 units, a consumer will now part with Sh 120 up from Sh25 previously.
And for the next 40 units for the domestic user the company will earn Sh15.80 units up from Sh2.5 previously charged, meaning they will pay Sh 632 instead of Sh100 which is an increase of 600 per cent.
However, for bulky commercial consumers they will part with Sh15.80 per unit from Sh13.5 they were paying previously.