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Murang’a — Kenya Power Company (KPC) in the current financial year has incurred losses amounting to more than Sh5.5 million after parts of its infrastructure was vandalised in Murang’a County.
The County Business Manager Engineer Harrison Kamau has said in Murang’a the company has lost 11 transformers out of 18 transformers vandalised within the Mount Kenya region.
Kamau speaking when he led a team to replace a vandalised transformer at Kiawahiga village in Gatanga on Tuesday said they also lost cables and scores of meters connected at homesteads were stolen.
In the last financial year, the manager observed that they lost 12 transformers to vandals in the region saying the criminal activities have caused great economic loss not only to KPC but also to customers who rely on electricity for their livelihoods.
The manager further said malicious interference of the company’s infrastructure by third parties is to blame for increased cases of blackouts. He stated that perpetrators behind vandalism have been soliciting money from customers in order to restore power.
“These criminals sabotage efforts to restore power supply by our team by removing fuses from transformers immediately the team leaves the sites in a bid to increase frustration on our customers so that they can yield to their demands,” observed Kamau.
The engineer noted that a transformer cost more than Sh500, 000 saying vandalism has pushed KPC to incur losses and negatively affect sources of livelihoods to many residents.
“Our aim is to sensitise residents to guard Kenya power infrastructure and report those found interfering with transformers, meters among other equipment to us or security authorities,” he remarked.
Kamau said there are dangers associated with engaging third parties on the Kenya power networks explaining that apart from self-injury to the perpetrators, the network is also exposed to other members of the public.
Apart from transformer vandalism, the manager noted that Murang’a is also facing increased cases of meter theft from customers’ premises.
“We are getting at least 50 cases of meter theft every month. The perpetrators of this act leave the customers without supply or connect them directly without meters thus exposing them to the offence of theft of power which is punishable under the law,” he stated.
He called upon residents not to welcome anyone who comes in the name of a KPC member of staff saying Kenya power does not charge for power reconnection or meter reading. “Report to us or to the area chief of anyone claiming to check your power meter. We have lost many meters,” he said
Speaking at the same time, the officer in charge of security from the company Haron Chokera said this year they have 17 active cases in court.
“Two of the suspects have already been sentenced to serve more than two years in prison and we are pursuing to ensure other cases are concluded,” he added.
Meanwhile, the KPC team cautioned members of the public from pruning or harvesting trees along power lines without involving them.
“Cutting trees along power lines is dangerous and can cause death by way of electrocution. In addition the trees fall on our infrastructure and break conductors thus causing power outages as well increasing the company’s costs for repairing the network,” the manager further said. – Kna