By Getrude Matayo
Kenya Power has made an application with the energy Regulator to increase electricity prices by up to fifth after softened its earlier stand against higher tariffs.
In a review that if implemented will hurt household budgets and raise the already high cost of doing business in Kenya.
The listed utility firm has sought approval from the Energy and Petroleum Authority (EPRA), the electricity sector regulator, on the application it made last year seeking a revision of tariffs.
Kenya Power wants to increase the consumption charge for those consuming less than 100 kilowatts per month to 12.50 a unit up from the current 10 shillings.
The energy ministry is understood to have made a U-turn and is now in agreement that Kenya Power needs more cash to recover the cost of buying wholesale electricity from generators such as KenGen and maintenance of the national grid.
This will see bills of homes consuming 50 units monthly increase to 961 shillings from the current 816 shillings representing a 17.8 percent jump when other charges like taxes, inflation, and fuel forex levies are incorporate.
Kenya Power holds that the higher tariffs are justified because the present electricity prices lapsed last year.
Household consuming 200 units will get a bill of 5,477 shillings from the current 4,612 reflecting 18.8 percent rise. Yesterday, EPRA soften its earlier stand to reject plans to raise the tariffs and said it was reviewing Kenya Power application.
In 2018, EPRA reduced the retail prices of electricity after an order from the president in the wake of widespread complaints from domestic customers and small businesses over a costly tariff introduced last year in July.
If approved, the new prices are likely to derail Kenya’s quest to make energy costs competitive compared with other African nations. The cost of power is a key determinant of new investments.