Kenya Power’s revolving doors still spinning
The revolving door at the Kenya Power board is turning faster as appointments and exits become the hallmark of the troubled electric utility, further risking its long-term policy objectives.
Former anti-corruption boss Justice Aaron Ringera is the latest appointee to the board of Kenya Power in a string of hirings that also include frequent removal of new and acting chief executives.
“The board of directors of Kenya Power is pleased to announce the appointment of Justice Aron Gitonga Ringera as a non-executive director,” the company announced.
Ringera’s appointment comes one month after the utility firm named Sarah Mbwaya and James Magige Gitiba as non-executive directors.
Mbwaya is an electronic engineer who serves as an independent director at Limuru Tea and as the Country chairperson of African Women in Energy and Power.
Gitiba served as a military assistant to the Chief of General Staff Kenya Armed Forces.
“Justice Aron Ringera has served in various presidential and ministerial taskforces and committees. He was a member of the task force on the review of power purchase agreements,” Kenya Power said.
The appointments were precipitated by the exits of board members including Elizabeth Rogo, Abdulrazaq Ali and Caroline Kittony-Waiyaki who resigned at the end of May. Aside from the board members, the company has endured multiple and rapid changes in its executive suite with new and acting CEOs leaving every few months.
The heavily indebted company is struggling to get by, especially after the president ordered a cut in power prices after years of sustained increases in electricity prices.
The growing shift of solar power systems by heavy-consuming industrialists seeking reliable and cheaper supply has also rattled the electricity distributor amid thinning revenues.
The utility firm said some of its industrial customers – who account for about 54.8 per cent of its sales revenues – are gradually shifting to own-generated solar power, dealing a further blow to its already dwindling finances.
The company got some Sh63 billion from industrial customers who bought 4,462 Giwatt hours in the year to June 2019, representing 45 per cent of its total revenue.
Old power transmission infrastructure is costing the company up to 20 per cent in system losses leading to a high cost of power.
Kenya Power picked Geoffrey Wasua Muli as its new Acting Managing Director replacing Rosemary Oduor two months ago who was also serving on an interim basis.
Kenya Power is one of the state parastatals that are draining the National Treasury of resources alongside Kenya Airways, a situation that has led to increased scrutiny of state parastatals by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF has been compelled to include the debt of state agencies in the public debt.
The company has Sh79.4 billion in outstanding trade payables, Sh60 billion of which is overdue.