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Kenyans from poor households set to pay more for electricity from April

This follows the scrapping of a subsidy that has for long helped to keep power bills for small consumers low.

Kenyans from low-income households could see an increase in their electricity bills from April as the government seeks to eliminate a subsidy that has for long helped to keep power bills for small consumers low. 

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Monday said it will implement a new tariff that will have uniform charges for domestic customers where the largest consumers (those consuming between 51-1,500 units) currently pay Sh12.75 per unit) or five times more than the poor.

The billing plan will also see a reduction in the prices for middle-income households(those consuming 51-1,500 units) who currently pay Sh12.75 per unit, or five times more than the poor.

“The new plan is to make people pay the true cost of electricity at a time when the government is working to bring down the overall cost of power,” said ERC director-general Pavel Oimeke.

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Consumers using 50 units and below per month currently pay Sh2.50 per kilowatt hour (kWh), known as lifeline tariff, a government policy that has for long been used to cushion the poor from high costs.

This categorisation comes with a setback since customers who buy tokens in the 0-50 band in a given month are charged lower at Sh2.50 per unit but should they load tokens above 51 units another time, they pay higher at Sh12.75 per unit.

It is this fluctuations that the new billing seeks to smooth out and enable consumers track their power consumption with ease.

ERC says the new billing plan is also structured to ensure customers on prepaid meters are spared the uncertainty of experiencing wild fluctuations when they top up cash for electricity tokens at different times of the month.

The new billing will only affect domestic consumers, and not commercial and industrial customers, whose tariff categorisation based on their power usage will continue.

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