Kenya Power MD fails to name faces behind token vending firms
6 days ago, 15:10
Kenya Power managing director Ken Tarus on Tuesday remained cagey despite being questioned several times by MPs over the faces behind the 15 companies contracted to vend electricity tokens to consumers.
Mr Tarus, who appeared before the National Assembly's Energy committee chose the questions to answer and ignored others he was uncomfortable with.
The queries he put under the carpet included those touching on 13 companies involved in the supply of concrete posts to the company.
It became worse when the committee chairman, Mr David Gikaria (Nakuru Town East), and committee members became complacent and would not remind him that there were questions he had not answered.
It appeared members were more interested in asking questions but not the kind of answers they were getting.
At the end, what they had extracted from the Kenya Power boss was too little.
Subject of complaints
The companies contracted to vend the electricity tokens have been a subject of complaints from Kenyans.
This is after revelations that they charge a higher transaction fee of up to Sh55 per transaction compared with Kenya Power’s pay bill number 888880, which charges Sh22.
Nominated MP Cecily Mbarire had sought to know the directors of the companies and how much commission they pocket for vending the electricity.
However, Mr Tarus said the services have since been improved following the signing of an agreement with mobile phone service providers Safaricom, Airtel and Equitel.
“We are out to aggressively market our pay bill number. Customers hardly wait for a minute before they are attended to.
"You get the token message before the M-Pesa alert,” Mr Tarus said adding that the delays had been the subject of too much traffic by the 4.5 million customers on prepaid plans.
Dynamo and Vendit are some of the vendors contracted to sell tokens on behalf of the Kenya Power.
According to Mr Tarus, the need to bring on board the vendors to improve services was conceived in 2009 and the following year an agreement was signed.
They are categorised as single agent vendor, multiple agent vendor and aggregators vendor and paid a commission of 2.5 per cent, 3 per cent and 3.5 per cent respectively of the revenue they generate to Kenya Power.
The MD said the vendors are required to deposit money with the Kenya Power before they are allowed to vend the tokens.
He denied claims that the 888880 pay bill number had been deliberately immobilised by some unscrupulous staff so as to discourage the consumers to use the vendors.
The MD did not reveal when the publishing of the accounts on the inflated bills, which he has admitted to before, will be done.
He did not also disclose how much money Kenya Power raised from the inflated bills and why he has not stepped aside yet he approved the pre-qualification of the contractors.
The company is also on the spot over the Sh600 million in irregular award of tenders by its staff.
On Tuesday he said the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is investigating the matter that ...
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