Law Society boss wants Kenya Power to stop charging backdated bills
Former Law Society of Kenya CEO Apollo Mboya wants Kenya Power temporarily stopped from charging Kenyans backdated costs pending investigation by the Competition Authority.
Mr Mboya says a move by the electricity distributor to recover Sh10.1 billion that it identifies as unrecovered flouts a number of provisions in the Competition Act.
In a letter to the authority’s director-general Wang’ombe Kariuki, Mr Mboya says Kenya Power “abused its dominant position in the market and buyer power by directly or indirectly imposing unfair purchase or selling prices or other unfair trading conditions contrary to section 24 of the Competition Act No. 12 of 2010”.
“Kenya Power misled consumers by making false or misleading representation with respect to the price of goods or services contrary to section 55 (b) (i) of the Competition Act No.12 of 2010,” he wrote.
The utility company, as revealed in its annual financial statement, says it has a Sh10.1 billion in unrecovered fuel costs. Apparently, it did not charge the costs last year “in support of the government’s goal of stabilising electricity costs” as it told Business Daily last week.
This is seen as an effort to keep prices low in an election year.
So far, it has recovered about Sh2 billion, which means Kenyans have been facing high bills as from November.
Mr Mboya sees this retrospective billing as an infringement on consumer rights.
“Kenya Power infringed Article 46 of the Constitution of Kenya on consumer rights to have goods and services of reasonable quality and to information necessary for them to gain full benefit from goods and services,” he argues in a letter dated January 5.
Should the Competition Authority not take action on Kenya Power within seven days of the date of his letter, Mr Mboya said he would “institute the necessary legal action”.
In his letter, he cites the Competition Act where it says that a person who contravenes its provisions is liable to imprisonment of up to five years or a fine of up to Sh10 million, or to both.