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Kenya Power unveils plan to migrate all consumers to smart meters

By Christopher Owuor
Tuesday, April 20th, 2021
Kenya Power staff working on a power line. Photo/Courtesy
In summary

LOSSES: Kenya Power (KP) will migrate all electricity consumers to smart meters in the next five years, in a move aimed at reducing systemic losses and improving efficiency.

Margaret Kanini, the manager in charge of sales said the power distributor has put in place various initiatives that will lead to a 3 per cent reduction in the losses, from the current 24.5 per cent to 21.5 per cent by June 2021.

Kanini was, however, not categorical on whether the reduction in losses would translate to better tariff, leaving the decision on the Energy Petroleum and Regulatory Authority (Epra) and it it would adjust the recovery rate downwards from the current 19.99 per cent.

“Definitely when losses are down, then the provision we are given by Energy, Petroleum and Regulatory Authority changes, and that will affect positively the tariff,” she said.

Kanini said commercial losses accounted for 12.1 per cent, while technical losses were 12.5 per cent, equivalent to Sh27.8 billion for the year ended June 30, 2020.

Out of the total, Sh11.9 billion was shouldered by consumers, while Sh15.9 billion absorbed internally as it was above the 14.9 per cent allowed by Epra.

Kanini said the company has started installing 55,000 smart meters and infrastructure, to capture data for small and medium enterprises, and 1,000 large customers who consume over 15,000 units, while residential consumers will all be migrated to the smart metering platform in the next two years.

Kanini was speaking yesterday at the company’s Nairobi Stima Plaza offices, during a half day workshop for the media on system losses.

Strategic direction

“The platform will enable us to do analytics, that will give us reports on how the accounts are performing in terms of consumption and whether the meters are being interfered with.

The strategic direction is to have all of them on the smart metering platform to have visibility on all installations,” she said.

Other initiatives the company has started to reduce system losses include border metering, involving metering of power supply to the company’s business regions and counties, to narrow down on points in the system experiencing higher losses for action.

Power system losses comprise technical and commercial components. Whereas commercial losses are mainly attributed to pilferages, faulty meters and meter tampering, technical losses occur when electrical energy is dissipated in the process of transmission and distribution.

Geoffrey Kigen, the manager in charge of security services said up to March 2021, the company had arrested 994 people over pilferage, out of which 17 were employees, adding that in the last one year, 100 employees had been dismissed over the same.