EPRA Investigates KPLC’s Move to Hide Tokken Pricing

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National energy provider Kenya Power is under intense scrutinity from the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) after the utility firm stopped providing pre-paid consumers with a breakdown of their electricity bills.

EPRA director-general Pavel Oimeke
EPRA director-general Pavel Oimeke. Image/Courtesy

EPRA says the move by KPLC denies Kenyans the opportunity to interrogate their payment statements.

According to the Business Daily the authority said it would seek reasons behind the shift in the bill statement amid concerns of a possible breach of consumer rights.

Earlier this month, power consumers received payment statements via their phones with a breakdown of charges like the monthly variable items like fuel and foreign exchange adjustments expenses lumped together.

“We have taken note of this matter and are currently probing to establish the reasons behind it. Once we arrive at the conclusion of our investigation, we shall make the findings public and take necessary regulatory actions,” Epra director-general Pavel Oimeke told the Business Daily.

The Consumer Protection Act 2012 demands that consumers are provided with full information, including the price and quality of any product they purchase.

Previously, Kenya Power provided details on payment of value-added tax, Epra levy, inflation adjustment, water regulator fees as well as foreign exchange and fuel adjustment surcharges.

The power utility now lumps the charges together and appears as other charges in payment statements sent to the mobile phones of more than six million of consumers hooked to the utility firm’s pre-paid billing systems.

Epra director-general Pavel Oimeke says that without details of fuel costs charge, consumers are unable to gauge how the use of expensive thermal electricity on the national grid is affecting electricity prices.

A few weeks ago, KPLC was on the spot for giving preference to expensive thermal power over cheaper options such as geothermal and hydro, effectively setting up consumers for higher electricity prices.

Epra in September provided data that revealed that Kenya Power had picked the highest proportion of the expensive thermal power in more than a year while reserving the lowest slot for the cheaper geothermal power.

That move led to consumers paying a higher fuel cost charge — which is influenced by the share of electricity from diesel generators — of Sh2.6 per kilowatt-hour, up from the Sh2.4 since May 2020.

 

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