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    Powerful Kibaki era people behind high power cost - Ahmednasir

    January 27, 2023 - The Star


      Lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi has urged President William Ruto to cancel all the contracts the government signed with Independent Power Producers to save Kenyans from the impending high cost of electricity.

      Independent Power Producers (IPPs) are non-utility private companies who build, own and operate power stations.

      They sell the power generated, in bulk, to Kenya Power.

      The senior counsel claims the entities have been responsible for the high cost of electricity in Kenya over the past two decades.

      He claims those who entered into the contract during the Kibaki era negotiated a deal that favours them while Kenyans as the end users suffer the consequences.

      "Most of the owners of the IPPs were powerful individuals in Kibaki's government and in vital ministries in government. The terms were so disadvantageous to Kenya that even a blind person could see. This is because the IPPs were dictating the terms and then agreeing with themselves," Ahmednasir said.

      Electricity prices are expected to shoot up by up to 78 per cent as of April 1 if the Energy Regulatory Authority approves tariffs proposed by Kenya Power.

      The power utility firm says the new prices will become effective upon the withdrawal of the current monthly subsidy which was introduced in 2018 to cushion underprivileged consumers.

      Kenya Power argues that the rich have been enjoying the subsidy set for poor households and it intends to lower the threshold for subsidy access from 100 to 30 units.

      The effect of this is that the cost of a unit for consumption below 30 kilowatts per month will rise to Sh28.01, up from the current Sh20.70, representing a 35.3 per cent increase.

      Those consuming 50 kilowatt hours (kWh) a month will bear the biggest brunt as they will pay Sh36.92 a unit from the current Sh20.70, representing a 78.3 per cent hike.

      Ahmednasir avers that all these extra charges are going into the pockets of the owners of the IPPs.

      "A false narrative is peddled that the government can't terminate these corruption-induced agreements because the World Bank Kenya blessed them. So what? If you can show the beneficial owners of the companies we're powerful individuals in the Kibaki government that is enough to rescind," he said.

      Former President Uhuru Kenyatta 2018 directed EPRA to lower electricity prices following a public uproar over inflated bills.

      The surge in the cost of power had been occasioned by a costly tariff that had been introduced in July 2017.

      Kenya Power holds that the subsidy ended in 2019 and, maintains that the proposed new prices are justified.

      "This will align the objectives of the lifeline/social tariff customer category with the correct social class normally defined by the level of income,' the company said.

      But Ahmednasir holds that those behind the new power tariffs as the same individuals who introduced the punitive IPPs during the Kibaki era.

      "They were in Moi, then Kibaki, then Uhuru and now Ruto. They mutate, adapt and continue to exploit the poor. With cheap solar, hydro and geothermal power, Kenya pays crazy money for diesel-powered electricity," he said.

      "I plead with H.E President William Ruto to bite the bullet, forget about the interests of oligarchs and rasputins, and authorise AG Justin Muturi to explore the legal rational to terminate the IPPs so that hustlers get cheap power. H.E. Ruto must tell the Kibaki oligarchs that hustlers matter!" he added.

      Earlier, Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot warned that the proposed power prices will lead to a massive shutdown of small businesses and create unemployment.

      "Which serious industrialists or investors will come to Kenya to create the so-called jobs with such a high price of electricity? he posed.

      "We also know that in Kenya today, we have surplus power. So, why should the cost of electricity go up? This is not rocket science. As a matter of fact, SMEs will shut and close shops. I, therefore, see an increase in unemployment," Aukot said.


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