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Bill seeking to end Kenya Power monolopy tabled in parliament

Supporters of the bill say the bill will give Kenyan homes and businesses a choice and better quality of service not to mention bring down prices of electricity.

A bill regarding opening the power retail market was tabled in Parliament last week for debate, despite a lack of backing.

The amended Energy Bill 2017 proposes the licensing of other electricity distributors and retailers outside Kenya Power’s stranglehold.

“A retail licence authorises a person to supply electricity to consumers through a series of commercial activities including procuring the energy from other licensees, inspection of premises, metering, selling, billing and collecting revenue,” reads the Bill.

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Top energy ministry officials are however not too enthusiastic about opening up the market and ending Kenya power monopoly.

Energy Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge  on Tuesday said the power retail market cannot be opened up -at least not in the next five years — for lack of a framework and an underdeveloped transmission network.

“We must regulate the retail market and protect Kenya Power,” said Mr Njoroge, adding that market liberalisation is only feasible upon the expiry of Kenya Power’s long-term contractual agreements with producers.

The ministry argues that market liberalisation would see Kenya Power default on its contractual obligation of buying specified amounts of power from producers since the entry of other players would eat into its retail market share.

The officials claim that competition will force the state-owned power distributor to pay hefty fines to producers such as KenGen  for power not used as its demand base narrows with the expected shifting of homes and businesses to other service providers.

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Supporters of the bill however argue that opening up the market will improve service delivery and give Kenyan homes and businesses a choice and better quality of service not to mention bring down prices of electricity.

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