Kenya Power, in a strategic collaboration with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), is intensifying efforts to combat the escalating cases of vandalism plaguing the nation's electrical infrastructure.
This proactive partnership aims to safeguard electricity equipment, curb theft, and address the illegal encroachment of wayleaves.
During the previous financial year, Kenya Power recorded a staggering 46 per cent surge in transformer vandalism, affecting 242 units—an alarming increase compared to the 165 units vandalized in the preceding year.
Kenya Power's Managing Director & CEO, Dr. (Eng) Joseph Siror, emphasized the urgency of the situation.
"We have witnessed a recent surge in cases of vandalism and illegal connections across the country leading to unplanned power outages that inconvenience our customers. The Company is working with various security agencies, including collaboration with the DCI, to tackle these illegal activities," Siror stated.
"We are confident that the partnership with the DCI will boost our capacity to proactively fight vandalism and other crimes through an intelligence-led approach."
Aside from the financial repercussions for the company, vandalism and illegal connections pose serious risks to public safety, including the danger of electrocution.
Furthermore, the compromised quality of power supply directly impacts the economy, underscoring the importance of reliable electricity for sustainable economic growth.
To address these challenges, Kenya Power is initiating a comprehensive public awareness campaign.
Paul Wachira, Deputy Director for Investigations at the DCI, highlighted their commitment to combating criminal activities in the energy sector.
"The DCI will continue supporting investigations and protecting the energy sector against criminal activities whenever we are called upon," Wachira stated.
"Through partnerships such as the one we now have with Kenya Power, we will work collaboratively for purposes of following the money trail, especially among those handling stolen copper and oil from vandalized transformers, so that the masterminds of these activities are arrested and prosecuted.”
Since July of the previous year, a total of 1,026 individuals have been arrested and prosecuted nationwide for various illegal activities within the electricity network. Out of these, 472 cases pertain to vandalism, theft of energy equipment, and damage to energy infrastructure.
Another 320 cases involved illegal connections and fraudulent consumption of electricity, while 33 individuals were arrested for encroachment on wayleaves.
The collaborative efforts between Kenya Power and the DCI signify a robust response to these challenges, aiming to secure the nation's power infrastructure and ensure a reliable energy supply for all.