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Kenya Power officials on the spot over ‘Carwash’ blackout

By Sammy Waweru November 14th, 2023 2 min read

Select Kenya Power and Lighting Company (Kenya Power) officials are battling accusations of soliciting bribes to provide services.

A spot check by Nairobi News indicates residents of Carwash, Zimmerman, a city suburb, have been without power for a week and are expressing frustration over the company’s failure to address the issue, with some officials allegedly demanding bribes to resolve the problem.

By the time of going to the press, several houses in the estate had been without power since November 8, 2023.

Nairobi News has established the implicated officials are requested for a Sh200,000 bribe to restore power.

“When they were informed about the situation, they set a Sh200,000 bribe ultimatum to restore electricity,” revealed a local business owner, whose identity we are withholding for security reasons.

Estimating significant losses in perishable food items she sells due to the power outage, the trader criticizes Kenya Power for its lax approach to the matter.

The Carwash area has been grappling with power outages, amid further reports the transformer supplying electricity is purportedly being used by corrupt Kenya Power officials to exploit house owners’ bribes.

“This is not the first incident of the transformer in question experiencing problems, and Kenya Power proceeds to demand kickbacks to rectify it.

On November 8, 2023, Kenya Power employees are said to have removed fuses supplying power to affected buildings and residences, alleging that someone tampered with the specific transformer.

“They angrily removed the fuses from the transformer, and at the time of the incident, they had another transformer in the company’s lorry that they were supposed to replace the faulty one with,” disclosed one of the landlords in Zimmerman, expressing dissatisfaction with Kenya Power’s behavior.

“If someone had tried to interfere with the transformer, why not hold the person responsible instead of punishing the majority who are innocent?” the plot owner questioned.

Surprisingly, Zimmerman Police Station is only a few meters away from the alleged problematic transformer, raising questions about the company’s integrity in handling such issues.

When Nairobi News contacted the company on November 11, 2023, via phone, residents were advised to reach out to the ‘top bosses at Kenya Power for a replacement of the faulty transformer.’

“The decision is at their discretion to reach out to the top bosses since the process of acquiring a transformer is lengthy,” said one of the Kenya Power officials who responded to the complaints through the phone number 0711031000, which is among those used to communicate with customers.

However, the state-owned power service provider official acknowledged receiving complaints from locals about the faulty transformer in that area.

Carwash rental houses operate under the Zimmerman Settlement Scheme, and the estate borders the Thika Super Highway, a renowned road connecting Nairobi and Thika town.

The area affected by the frequent power outages is a few kilometers from the Kenya Power Roysambu Sub-Station.

Despite residents’ complaints, rumors suggest that some buildings are illegally connected to electricity.

It is the duty of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), in collaboration with the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI), to investigate Carwash to ascertain claims against Kenya Power regarding extortion to restore power.

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