By Beth Nyaga
The number of arrests carried out by Kenya Power security personnel for crimes related to vandalism and theft of electricity rose by 77 per cent to 257 in the half year to June 2016, compared to the same period last year.
West Kenya recorded the highest number of arrests during both periods that saw several vandals and constructors of illegal lines seized, giving a boost to the Company’s efforts to track down commercial losses resulting from theft of power.
Cases of vandalism reduced by 17.1 per cent during the period, improving the quality of power supply by minimizing interruptions originating from tampering with transformers and conductors.
“There have been significant gains in the fight against power theft and vandalism. This is attributed to enhanced surveillance across our network. We will endeavor to maintain the cordial relationship with the members of the public and the security agencies to help maintain a downward trend in this aspect,” said Major Geoffrey Kigen (Rtd), Kenya Power’s Acting Manager for Security Services.
In addition to partnering with members of the public to report occurrences on the network, adoption of technical measures such as welding, relocation and hosting of transformers above high voltage lines has contributed to reducing cases of vandalism.
The Company has also benefited from long term imprisonment of some vandals, stretching to ten years, and hefty fines which has served to deter fresh crime.
Kenya Power was recently co-joined in “Operation Usalama”, a joint operation by security agencies within the Eastern Africa region that aims to track down international crimes such as theft of copper cables, terrorism, mineral smuggling and human trafficking, among others.
Tampering with electricity distribution equipment negatively affects the quality of power supply as it leads to unplanned interruptions, resulting in losses both in households and industries.