Kenyans reacted to a proposal by Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary nominee Davis Chirchir to zone the country into different blocks to enable Kenya Power better deliver electricity to households.
In his suggestion, Mr. Chirchir likened the proposed distribution to that of Safaricom, where zoning sees businesses buy power in bulk to distribute to customer, thereby also making some profit. In the Safaricom case, he mentioned airtime that customers buy and distribute across the country.
Energy CS nominee, David Chirchir, doesn’t see why Kenya Power struggles with visibility of 7.1 million customers across the country. His proposal – why not zone the country into pre-paying wholesalers who purchase power at a discount & leave it to them to deal with the consumer? pic.twitter.com/iyUfnjPVde
— Julians Amboko (@AmbokoJH) October 18, 2022
On Twitter, Kenyans largely gave thumbs up to the proposal, arguing that it is a sound way of reimaging the monopoly that is Kenya Power.
However, a tweep called Wanjohi Theuri stated that the idea fails to appreciate that the problem is not the demand side but “over-supply of power due to over commitments with USD denominated Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)”, he said.
On her part, Boke Njoroge stated that this would only work if there were competition between wholesalers so the masses have options to pick from and manage price hikes from monopolies.
Dot Pavaa had a different idea. “why introduce another layer of bureaucracy? in fact if people were serious generation transmission and last mile retail should be collapsed into one company, not three as we currently have,” he posed.
Alice Makochieng’ stated that there are countries already doing it that Kenya can borrow from. “Exactly, like how it works in South Africa. Eskom sells power wholesale to the Municipalities/City Councils, they sell it to the customers. It’ll remove a lot of the headaches KPLC deals with retail customers, the Municipalities/Council’s can sought that out, and earn income as well.”
It also received plaudits from Ernest Muriu. “It takes away bad debt risk, reduces overheads e.g. staff to monitor meters, cost of going to site etc. You can lease out the infrastructure at a nominal value or allow free access and operator does the maintenance,” he said.