On Tuesday, the Energy Regulatory Commission scrapped off the normal electricity standing charges, especially the 150 shillings, in an effort to help more than three million domestic power consumers access affordable power.
Kenyans broke into smiles and celebrations following the scrapping off of the standing charge but their joy was short-lived because little did they know that the new tariffs had made matters worse.
On Wednesday, the new tariff came into effect and Kenyans rushed to buy tokens with the hope that with the removal of the fixed charges, they will get more tokens.
They were in for a rude shock. Instead of getting more tokens, they got much lesser tokens because, apparently, the power bills just went up.
Initially, for those who consumed 10kw and below, they paid a fixed charge of 150 shillings, and 2.50 shillings per token thereafter up to 10kw. The 150 fixed charge has now been done away with and the price of one unit increased from 2.50 shillings to a whopping 12 shillings.
More painfully, for those who consume between 10kw and 50kw, the price of one unit has increased from 2.50 shillings per unit to 15.80 shillings per unit.
For instance, before the new tariff, which was to make electricity cheaper, 1,000 shillings gave one between 63 and 65 units (tokens) but from Wednesday, the same amount could only earn you 45.1 units (tokens).
All Kenyans who wanted answers from the Kenya Power and Lighting Company were met with a constant answer that directed them to the Energy and Regulatory Commission (ERC) for an explanation.
“For tariff charges, levies and taxes queries kindly contact ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) on 0202847000…” read one of Kenya Power’s sentiments on Twitter
President Uhuru Kenyatta had promised to help Kenyans have access to affordable electricity but it now appears, Kenyans will have the ‘affordable power’ by word of mouth but pay through the nose in reality.