Kenya power has stopped providing consumers with the breakdown of how the token are priced making it difficult for users to interrogate their pricing system.
Consumers now receive payment statements via their phones showing costs and units purchased and lumps together other charges like the monthly variable items like fuel and foreign exchange adjustments expenses.
This makes it difficult for consumers to establish whether the costing on their bills matches the unit prices for various items like tax, regulatory levies and other surcharges with data published monthly in the Kenya Gazette by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra).
Previously, the utility provided details on payment of value-added tax, Epra levy, inflation adjustment, water regulator fees as well as foreign exchange and fuel adjustment surcharges.
Now, these charges have been lumped together and appear as other charged in payment statements sent to the mobile phones of more than six million of Kenya Power consumers hooked to the pre-paid billing systems.
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A wobbly shilling and heavy reliance on diesel-powered generators to produce electricity, due to low water levels in the country’s hydro-electric dams, have been blamed for the rise in fuel surcharge and forex adjustment costs.
A weak shilling means fuel import costs have been rising.
Without details of fuel costs charge, consumers are unable to gauge how the use of expensive thermal electricity on the national grid is affecting electricity prices.
Kenya Power was recently on the spot for giving preference to expensive thermal power over cheaper options such as geothermal and hydro, effectively setting up consumers for higher electricity prices.
September data by the Epra, the energy regulator, revealed that Kenya Power had picked the highest proportion of the expensive thermal power in more than a year while reserving the lowest slot for the cheaper geothermal power.
As a result, consumers paid a higher fuel cost charge — which is influenced by the share of electricity from diesel generators — of Sh2.6 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), up from the Sh2.4 since May 2020.