OPINION: Kenya Power must make its services in Siaya reliable


A Kenya power technician fixes a transformer
A Kenya power technician fixes a transformer. PHOTO | FILE

By Joseph Bonyo

Three weeks ago, I was in the village. We experienced power outages for more than 12 hours. I was miffed. I called all the known numbers of the local Bondo Kenya Power office with little assistance.

In the process, I was added to a WhatsApp group. The group I was made to understand was created by the Kenya Power officers in Siaya County. This, ostensibly to enable them track and respond efficiently to power outages.

While we had power back 12 hours later, my folks could not understand why I was getting angry. To them this was normal. Outages last even longer, they told me.

To me, an urban dweller, this sounded alarming. I remember urging them to have the Bondo Kenya Power emergency numbers to expedite resumption of services. They were not keen on it. I realised I was hoping to see a pig fly!

Back to the WhatsApp group, the reality of these long and unending outages welcomed me. The EPL soccer season is back and of course you would expect various groups buzzing with chats on the same.

I can assure you the Siaya Kenya Power consumers group beats dedicate EPL groups hands down. Even on a night that Arsenal is being whooped or Manchester United is being awarded controversial penalties.

From Sagam to Usenge, Karapul to Nyalunya, Lihanda to Ng’iya, Lundha to Gongo, Manyala to Nyangweso. Every second, there is a post on an outage.

I give it to the Kenya Power response team. They work hard to ensure we the consumers are served. They also call us out when we shamelessly cut trees and bring down power lines while at it.

But even with their efforts, the situation remains dire. Ramogi FM is awash with news items of traders complaining of days of outage and low supply.

Kenya Power must make its services in Siaya County reliable. We need stable and reliable supply of power. Their local offices are bearing the burden of an inefficient utility firm. This will soon reflect on their services if at all it has not already.

I sympathize with all the budding poultry farmers who rely on the national grid in Siaya to incubate the eggs. The Jua Kali artisans who spend their days waiting for reliable power and taking flack from customers on delayed orders.

My heart goes out to the many young men and women who operate barbershops and salons but while away on their phones. Catching up on social media and responding to customer text with ‘bado’ on enquiries if power is back.

Many nascent businesses that rely on main grid electricity supply in the county stare at losses. Their days are spent idling where they could have been generating money.

Reliable power is a key plank in any region’s economic growth. With solar provisions still on a small scale, an opportunity exists.

But before then, for Siaya residents dutifully paying their bills, Kenya Power owes them efficient, unrivalled and stable power. Just like they sing it in their numerous marketing campaigns.

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Story By Joseph Bonyo
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