Relief as Kenyans Escape CRB in Ksh24B Unpaid Bills

Kenya Power workers repair a transformer on the Meru-Makutano road on March 28, 2016.
  • Kenyans who have defaulted on their electricity bills will not be listed by Credit Reference Bureau’s (CRB) as Kenya Power explores options to recover Ksh24 Billion in defaulted bills.

    According to the utility company, defaulters who accounted for a total of Ksh24 Billion with Ksh8.16 billion being attributed to households or domestic power users would not be listed by CRBs due to ambiguity in the law.

    An amendment to the Banking law of 2017 allowed utility firms (water and electricity) to share information with credit bureaus to help with recovery of bills by defaulters.

    Kenya Power workers repair a transformer on the Meru-Makutano road on March 28, 2016.
    Daily Nation

    “Under the law, Kenya Power can list defaulters with the CRB, but there’s a clause that needs clarification before we can proceed as it mentions the word ‘credit’. The option is available but we are not pursuing it currently,” Kenya Power Managing Director Bernard Ngugi told one of the local dailies.

    The Energy Ministry disclosed that more than half a million customers had failed to pay their electricity bills in three months.

    In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, President Uhuru Kenyatta in April, asked Kenya Power to go easy on Kenyans and keep the lights on, despite any outstanding bills.

    “I have also requested the Kenya Power and Lighting Company not to disconnect power to those who are unable to pay but rather understand the situation we are in,†the President stated.

    An electricity consumer on the post-paid system based in Kitui told that the directive had provided a reprieve though he still had fears he would be disconnected.

    “I am not able to pay the whole bill, but I make payments in installments when I can, so that I do not get disconnected,” the resident told this writer.

    A report by GeoPoll titled Financial Impact of COVID estimated that 17 million Kenyans were operating on their last cash reserves set to be depleted by August 6. 

    Asked how long they expected to be able to pay for basic expenses like rent and food, 37% of the Kenyan respondent’s revealed that they only had enough cash to last them for a maximum of 30 days.

    At the same time, banks reported a record Ksh30 Billion in defaulted loans between March and June 2020.

    In August 2020, the Central Bank of Kenya stated that non-performing loans (NPLs) rose to Ksh 379.9 billion in June, from Ksh 349.9 billion in February.

    File image of Kenyan banknotes
    File image of Kenyan banknotes

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