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Estimated electricity bills are illegal, court tells Kenya Power

KP cannot back-peddle and claim money owed more than one year ago. [Courtesy]

The High Court has faulted Kenya Power for backdating power bills to recover Sh10.1 billion contained in its 2017 report.

In a verdict which is a major indictment to the electricity marketer, Justice James Makau found that demanding the arrears from customers without supportive bills was illegal.

According to the judge, KP cannot back-peddle and claim money owed more than one year ago. The judge barred KP from demanding Sh616,000 from a customer, which was part of Sh10.1 billion it was chasing.

“I further hold even where the first respondent would have with evidence, justified such big billed payment, many years back, the good governance infrastructure in Article 10 of the Constitution would, in my view, prohibit one from back billing for a period of 12 calendar months proceeding, as this would be contrary to the national values, principles of good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability and sustainable development,” Justice Makau ruled.

He continued: “ I find from the admissions of the first respondent that in furnishing the petitioner with estimated bills and not actual metered bills, it acted with illegality, irrationality and impropriety.”

Mr Alan Donovan filed the case.

In his suit, he claimed that the power supply company sent him the inflated bill despite the fact that the electricity was for home use only.

According to Donovan, KP had been issuing him with erroneous bills from 2008 and he had filed several complaints with them.

At one point, he claimed, he had to change his meter box thinking that the old one was faulty.

He again requested that the power firm should install a separate meter from the servant quarters in a bid to ascertain they were not overusing the electricity.

He also had problems with KP over missing bills in which it was agreed that the company would not be sending him estimates, instead they would be reading the meter.

“Despite making numerous trips to the first respondent’s offices to inquire about the missing and erroneous bills, the situation did not improve,” he wrote in his papers filed before the High Court.

He asked the court for a forensic audit of Kenya Power and in particular, the Sh10.1 billion it intended to charge customers. 

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