Kenya Power is cautioning those living in informal settlements to shun the use of illegally connected power to stem electrical accidents that have led to the loss of property, injuries and deaths.
The utility firm’s Managing Director Bernard Ngugi says the illegal electricity connections were causing overloads on transformers which compromises the quality of power supply to legally connected customers.
“We have seen a rise in the number of electrical accidents occasioned by illegal power lines, notably in informal settlements. Illegal connections cause safety concerns since they do not adhere to global standards. Regrettably, some of these incidents have led to the loss of property, limbs and in the worst case scenario, lives,” said Ngugi.
According to Kenya Power, increase in the electricity system losses is partly attributable to a surge in illegal electricity connections.
Kenya Power has now taken to clamping down on illegal connections in Nairobi’s informl settlements which have brought inconveniences to many consumers.
“Most of the connections are done using wrong and unsafe materials and this poses a serious danger to both human beings and animals. We want to caution those engaging in these illegal activities that the law will deal firmly with them,” added Ngugi.
Kenya Power is now carrying out sensitization programes to promote public safety and reduce electricity theft which include illegal connections and tampering with meters.
“Some residents of informal settlements are paying cartels as much as Kshs. 1,000 per month yet they use one bulb. If they were using legally connected power, the much they would pay is about Kshs. 250 per month,” added Mr Ngugi
Commercial losses contribute about half of the Kenya Power’s system losses which stood at 23.46% as at June 2020.
During the raid conducted in Nairobi County on Thursday, several materials used in power theft including wires were recovered and at least three people arrested at Viwandani along Lunga Lunga Road.
The Energy Act 2019 prescribes stiff penalties for those caught engaging in electricity theft including a fine of Kshs. 1,000,000 or one year’s imprisonment or both for the offence of illegal connection and electricity theft.