Will separation of Kenya Power and Independent Power Producers bring cheap power?

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The state’s incompetence that led to the signing up of private firms that build stations to supply power to Kenya Power (KPLC) is now, in the time of highest incompetence trying to do away with them.

254news.co.ke is not in support of the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) as they are called but KPLC saying that they want to terminate the contracts with them is a welcome move, but one fraught with dangers.

By calling the current regime most highly incompetent, it begs the question how, a government which has been on a debt-binge spree, caring less about economy and people, be thinking this humane. What changed?

Now, some quick history about IPPs

As of June 2017, there were 12 IPPs in the country, one emergency power producer and three import firms with 3,029 MW of installed power capacity.

Kenya Power wants to walk away from the decades-old contracts with the producers of expensive diesel-generated electricity as part of the country’s push towards the cleaner and less costly renewable energy.

But KPLC has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, in the recent tokens systems scandals, staff manipulated it, stealing a lot of money.
The Post paid model has seen clients pay crazy amounts in electricity bills, obviously pumped up by the staff themselves.

Are IPP responsible for system manipulation at Kenya Power? Of course, their divorce will be messy, as IPPs will not sit easy seeing that they have spent billions in infrastructure such as generators and powerlines to supply Kenya Power with electricity.

When KPLC announced intention to separate, IPPs fired the first short accusing the power supplier of being ‘reckless in signing up additional generators without aligning them with demand, resulting in oversupply.

“KP (Kenya Power) claims that the measures taken by the government of Kenya in order to contain the Covid-19 pandemic have reduced national demand for electricity, which has affected the company’s ability to utilise available capacity and take delivery of electrical energy,” they wrote.

Plans to pull the plug on the power purchase agreements with the firms had been in the pipeline for a while on the recommendation of a task force to review the deals in 2018.

Anyways, it is quite curious why they want to terminate the contract now, during the COVID-19 pandemic and when a government that is too corrupt is in power. Furthemore, what makes us believe that if the IPP are gone, the people who have stole from sick people as in the case of Afya House and KEMSA, through overpriced infrastructure like SGR will be humane enough to reduce cost of electricity to the masses? Not likely. Danganya toto jinga!

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