Kenya Power will pay its consumers for financial losses that occur during power outages if a proposal by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) sails through.

EPRA, on May 1, unveiled a draft copy of the Draft Energy Regulations (Electricity Reliability, Quality of Supply and Service) which may compel Kenya Power to compensate businesses.

The company currently compensates for injuries and damaged equipment only but doesn’t indemnify business and domestic customers who incur financial losses.

Section 32 of the draft – titled Compensation by Licensees – states that “A licensee shall be liable to pay appropriate compensation to a person if due to failure, poor quality or irregularity of electricity supply, the person incurs damage to his or her property, financial loss, loss of life due to negligence or avoidable default by the licensee, provided that the breach is reported in writing within thirty (30) days of the breach.”

A claimant will be required to apply for compensation in writing within twelve (12) months of the breach in respect of which the claim is made.

It adds that where a licensee is to pay compensation to a person, the licensee shall, subject to these regulations pay the amount specified, or in kind, to the person within three months after the determination of the claim.

Kenya Power shall be exempted from compensating a business if the failure, poor quality or irregularity of electricity supply was caused by; third-party interference to the licensee’s electric supply lines, inevitable accident, force majeure (unavoidable natural catastrophes), an electrical fault on the consumer’s side beyond the consumer metering point.

Other reasons include illegal activities and unauthorized access to the licensee’s infrastructure, persons’ own fault so slight as not to materially affect the quality or value of the supply, damage not reported in writing within thirty days of the breach.

However, the draft has several loopholes including failure to disclose how long a customer needs to be without power in order to be compensated. Kenya Power reserves the right to notify its customers of outages in power schedules and maintenance instances.

EPRA has asked interested parties to share their thoughts and comment on the draft regulations by Friday, May 14.

The proposal comes a few weeks after President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed a task force to review power purchase agreements between it and private electricity generators. Stakeholders had raised concerns about the company purchasing power at outrageous costs and pushing consumers to shoulder the burden.

Kenya Power also revised its income strategies by streamlining its expenditures, recovery of arrears owed by customers and enhancing its efficiency after recording a Ksh939 million loss. Consumers have been switching to solar energy and using backup generators to save costs.

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