The origin of every sin can be traced, and the ongoing madness at Kenya Power is certainly worth exploring. The Independent Power Producers (IPP) are constantly swindling the company, which in turn makes electricity more expensive for consumers.
It’s a problem that has persisted through multiple presidencies, including those of Daniel Moi, Mwai Kibaki, and Uhuru Kenyata, and it doesn’t seem like it will be resolved anytime soon.
The political elite in Kenya are not interested in cutting off the cash flow from IPPs, despite the fact that it’s causing harm to consumers.
Those who do business with Kenya Power can attest to this fact. The Ministry of Energy in Kenya, along with its subsidiaries Kenya Power and Kenya Pipeline, are notorious for their corrupt practices.
Let’s take a closer look at Iberafrica Limited and Westmont Power Limited, two of the primary IPPs contracted by Kenya Power. They were brought on board in 1997 to supply power to the national grid during a severe power shortage that the country was experiencing.
However, they made some cartel-inspired demands that raised eyebrows later. For instance, Iberafrica demanded to be paid in advance, and Westmont requested an Escrow account. These demands, along with other decisions made, set a dangerous precedent that later IPPs would follow.
Questions have been raised about the personalities behind Iberafrica and Westmont Limited and how they were awarded contracts. When Parliament tried to investigate, they found out that the Kenya Power board of directors had inadequate knowledge to make informed decisions.
This is a lesson for current President William Ruto, who has appointed some questionable individuals to parastatal boardrooms.
Furthermore, the rates paid to Iberafrica and Westmont were vastly different, even though they were supplying similar levels of power. Kenya Power was buying expensive power, and it wasn’t clear why.
Although the two companies were initially contracted for emergency power supply, Kenya Power continued to pay them retainer fees regardless of their energy production.
The cartels running the electricity sector in Kenya have made it difficult to get to the bottom of this tariff business. Despite promises that power charges will come down, they’ve only increased. Currently, Kenya Power purchases 65% of its power from Kengen for a reasonable rate, while IPPs are charging exorbitant rates.
It’s an ongoing scandal, and until there is political will to change the system, the cartels will continue to run the show. The energy sector is a crime scene, and those at the top seem to have a don’t-care attitude. If we don’t act soon, we’ll continue to be at their mercy.