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Kenya Power, COFEK, Scrap Metal Council unite to combat infrastructure vandalism

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The Kenya Power and Lighting Company Chief Executive Officer Eng. Joseph Siror speaking during a press conference with Consumers Federation of Kenya and Scrap Metal Council on eradicating vandalisation of national infrastructure among them transformers and metals.
The Kenya Power and Lighting Company Chief Executive Officer Eng. Joseph Siror speaking during a press conference with Consumers Federation of Kenya and Scrap Metal Council on eradicating vandalisation of national infrastructure among them transformers and metals.

Kenya Power, the Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK), and the Scrap Metal Council have agreed to implement policies against the vandalism of infrastructure, including transformers and metals.

Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) CEO, Eng. Joseph Siror, emphasized the importance of collaboration among institutions, the energy sector, and the public to eradicate vandalism of energy equipment. This cooperation is essential to provide affordable and reliable power for all citizens.

Siror highlighted the critical role of power in daily life and stated that KPLC would not tolerate vandalism, which inconveniences customers and poses risks to human and animal lives. Exposed power infrastructure increases the risk of electrocution.

He noted that sectors such as high dependency and intensive care units, which rely solely on power without backup, face increased business costs, risk of widespread power outages, and compromised law and order, leading to a loss of foreign investments.

Citing the impact of power outages and vandalism, Siror revealed that in 2023, 365 transformers worth Sh328 million were lost, and this year, 78 transformers have been vandalized, resulting in high replacement costs for the company.

Siror was speaking at a press conference with COFEK and the Scrap Metal Council on Wednesday at a Nairobi hotel, where they discussed eradicating the vandalism of national infrastructure.

He described the nature of these crimes as troubling and called for a collective effort to eliminate them to create a conducive business environment. Siror pointed out the challenges in combating this menace and highlighted the implementation of the Energy Act of 2019 as a key step forward.

“Criminals tampering with electricity supply installations, damaging street lights, and power installations will face a fine of Sh5 million or 5 years’ imprisonment,” he warned.

The Energy Act not only addresses vandalism but also protects shared resources as a collective responsibility. Siror commended the Judiciary for its support in this sector.

In 2022 and 2024, KPLC secured 12 successful convictions, with the culprits serving jail terms, while 166 cases are pending in courts. Siror expressed hope for the expedited resolution of these cases to minimize vandalism.

“We have embarked on initiatives, including collaborative partnerships with law enforcement agencies such as the National Police Service, National Intelligence Service, Directorate of Criminal Investigations, and National Government Administration Officers,” he revealed.

Siror also stated that the partnership has enabled KPLC to recover 1,178 electricity handles between 2022 and 2024 and protect transformer units through enhanced patrols and surveillance.

“We have enhanced our patrols and surveillance on road scrap metal dealers while working with the community,” he said, adding that KPLC would collaborate with stakeholders in the metal industry to shift from a reactive to a proactive response.

He urged everyone to denounce the destruction of infrastructure, particularly transformers, as it is a crime against all Kenyans. To ensure reliable electricity, Siror suggested banning the export of copper, noting that in 2023, Kenya exported copper waste and scrap worth Sh6.7 billion despite not producing copper.

“By failing to protect our infrastructural assets, we are collectively digging ourselves into a big problem since the costs will be passed on to customers or taxpayers through increased tariffs and taxes,” he reminded Kenyans.

COFEK Secretary General, Stephen Mutoro, remarked on the inconvenience caused by vandalism, leading to power outages, disrupted water supply, and cut-off railway lines.

“As COFEK, we believe in creating solutions. The problem has focused on the supply side. It is high time to shift the burden from the supply side to the demand side,” he said.

Mutoro urged the government and private sectors to develop a policy for community policing against vandalism, stressing that such a policy is vital for effective intelligence sharing.

KNA
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