Confess or else!

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A group of Kenyans is threatening to sue the Kenya Power and Lighting Company for what it considers abuse of dominance, monopoly and buyer power.

In a letter of demand dated 8 January 2018 and addressed to KPLC through their lawyers Apollo and Company Advocates, they accuse the Company of slapping electricity consumers with inflated power bills as a means of recovering ksh10. 1 billion backdated bills from consumers allegedly incurred on diesel generation in the year 2017 but not factored in the monthly charges.

They demand that the Company provide them with information concerning the issue failure to which they threaten legal action. Among others, they seek information on monthly tariffs provided by the Energy Regulatory Commission for both pre-paid and postpaid customers for the period starting 1 July 2016; figures for electricity capacity supplied from diesel, hydro geothermal and all other forms along with the supporting documents; the names of the entities and capacities supplied by each and the price at which KPLC purchased the capacities as well as an explanation as to whether the company at any time, made a false or misleading representation with respect to electricity tariffs and bills to consumers.

They also demanded to know why the Company failed to declare a loss of Sh10 billion for uncollected amounts in its annual financial report as required by law and why it did not bill consumers and collect the said amount when it fell due.

According to sources, Apollo and Company has already set up an online platform for collection of documents in furtherance of a class action suit.

In a separate letter addressed to the director, Competitions Authority of Kenya Mr Wangombe Kariuki, the complainants demanded that the Authority investigates the alleged infringements.

In his reply dated 10 January 2018 addressed to the Mr Wangombe and copied to complainants’ firm Apollo and Company however, KPLC director Kenneth Tarus denied all allegations of misconduct. While acknowledging the inflated costs, he blamed them on mistakes made when transitioning to a new integrated customer management system. To correct them, he said that the KPLC had begun a public campaign to notify consumers of possible errors in bills in the month of December 2017 while inviting them to bring such errors to its attention for correction.