Kenya Power to stop pre-loading meters in last mile shakeup

Kenya Power to stop pre-loading meters in last mile shakeup

Kenyans will soon be required to pay for tokens after installation of meters to access power.

Kenya Power acting Managing Director Ken Tarus said the power company is prosecuting those who have illegal connections and have bypassed the meters, more so for informal settlements.

An interim report prepared by the utility firm showed that informal settlements monthly consumption is low.

Prepaid meters once installed come with 30 preloaded units and many informal settlers take several months to exhaust the initial preloaded units.

The movement of tenants from informal settlements at various times occurs and has resulted in a number of installed pre-paid meters not vending for the period of non-occupancy.

The Kenya Power chief said customers would in future be required to load tokens upon connection to have power.

“We have noticed that having meters that have higher preloaded numbers take long before they vend. We are looking at the possibility of gradually reducing that and perhaps in the long run providing meters that you have to load immediately after installation to enable you access power,” said Mr Tarus.

The remarks come a day after an article indicated that Kenya Power was exaggerating its numbers under the last mile project.

Dr Tarus however rubbished claims that about one million customers were non-existent, based on the fact that they had not purchased tokens since the meters were installed and activated.

According to Kenya Power, all prepaid meters come with preloaded units, which account for the long time taken by customers before they commence vending, especially in low income households which are low consumers of electricity.

“Zero vend refers to prepaid meters installed but have not yet purchased tokens or vended. The article erroneously concluded that zero vend pre-paid meters is the same as non- connection.  Indeed, the 940,668 customers claimed in the article are connected with power supply, but they have not vended for some time,” added Mr Tarus.

Kenya power confirmed that the number of households connected to the national grid stands at 5.98 million customers which is equivalent to about 63 percent of national coverage.

The power company targets to connect 70 percent by the end of this year and universal access by the year 2020.

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