By HENRY OWINO (Science Africa Correspondent)
Kenyans have the opportunity of saving up to Ksh 4.1 billion in energy consumption for the 2018/19 Financial Year. This follows strategy hatched out by Eenovators Limited offering innovative and reliable energy efficiency solutions to energy consumers.
The new strategy is prompting five times cut from regular energy usage cost hence savings. In the previous years, Ksh 82 billion of tax payers’ money was spent in supplying the same energy.
However, The Eenovators limited an Energy Consulting firm known for energizing the world through innovative energy solutions, is committed towards saving Kenyans from extra cost.
This was revealed by Engineer Simon Ngure, chairman, Association of Energy Professionals Eastern Africa (AEPEA) during a two day conference held in Nairobi, Kenya to mark the World Energy Day (WED). The two days event was organized by Eenovators.
“Energy consumption today in Kenya is cut to 4 percent from 5.4 percent in previous years as a result of modern energy efficient appliances. For instance, the LED bulbs have become common nowadays, including other forms of electronic gadgets that consume minimal energy compared to halogen or incandescent bulbs,”Eng. Ngure explained.
Eng. Ngure said Eenovators and AEPEA have been working around the clock to come up with new innovative and reliable energy efficiency solutions to its consumers. He disclosed the organization is moving towards reliable renewable energy sources such as wind power, solar energy, and biomass among others.
The good news comes a time when Kenyans are grappling with harsh economic times after 8 percent value added tax (VAT) took effect. Again at the right time when most Kenyans have been complaining of inflated electricity bills from Kenya Power Company.
According Eng. Ngure, in Kenya, energy use is divided into three categories thus Biomass at 69%, Petroleum 22% and Electricity 9%.
“Electricity access in Kenya is low despite the government’s ambitious target to increase electricity connectivity from the current 15% to at least 65% by the year 2022. Current electricity demand is 1,600 MW and is projected to grow to 2,600-3600 MW by 2020,” Eng. Ngure said.
“I would encourage anyone to invest in biomass energy. It’s the best because it only needs planting trees of any variety and use them in various energy forms,” Eng. Ngure advised.
At present, many households are using LED bulbs as opposed to traditional halogens or incandescent bulbs. This is because LEDs bulbs last much longer (life-span) than halogens and use far less power.
Although, halogen bulbs are often individually cheaper than LEDs but extrapolating cost savings from that is “a false economy” according to Eng. Ngure.
“Traditional incandescent bulbs measured their brightness in watts; if you wanted a brighter bulb, you bought one with a higher wattage. However, with advent of LEDs and other types of lighting, that ancient yardstick has become meaningless,” Eng. Ngure asserted.
Because of that a bulb’s brightness is now listed as lumens, which is a more accurate measurement of how bright it is, rather than how much energy it consumes. So, compare how much energy, in watts, an incandescent or halogen bulb and an LED typically require producing the same amount of light.
“A halogen bulb may be cheaper to buy in the first place but the electricity costs will be much more expensive, whereas an LED bulb will pay for itself within a year,” he added.
“Halogen bulbs also last for just two years on average, compared to LEDs which have a 15-20 year life expectancy. Again LEDs consume one-fifth of the energy of halogen bulbs and their phase-out will help save billions apart from preventing carbon emissions,”Eng. Ngure emphasized.
So Eenovators encourages energy consumers to use LED lamps, florescent tubes or any other energy efficient bulbs in lighting as energy saving solutions
On the other hand, Apollo Mboya, Lawyer also has saved Kenyans billions from inflated electricity bills from the Kenya Power Company (KPLC).
Mboya moved to court on a class action lawsuit accusing the electricity company of over higher bills amounting to Ksh8.1 billion for the months of November and December 2017. The figure was initially Sh10.1 billion but the government recovered Ksh2 billion.
The petitioners wanted the High Court to declare that Kenya Power made a false and misleading representation in electricity tariffs and bills, thereby infringing on the rights of consumers.
“Kenya Power is illegally imposing inflated bills…” Mboya and the Electricity Consumer Society of Kenya stated in the court documents.
“The threat by Kenya Power to disconnect electricity if consumers fail to pay the demanded amount is unreasonable and the court ought to have intervened.” Mboya stated.
The petitioners wanted the court to issue a permanent injunction for Kenya Power not to send its customers back-dated bills.
They also wanted an order for the Director General to conduct a forensic audit of KPLC and the exploitation of electricity generation capacity to determine consumers’ value for money.
Mboya, Energy Champion and former Law Society of Kenya chairman, further said he also wanted monopoly dominance the KPLC enjoys declared unconstitutional. He also wanted the company compelled to refund its customers.
“I received over 600 complaints through emails from different people across the country let alone the phone calls. This prompted me to sue the KPLC,” Mr. Mboya disclosed while addressing participants at the WED conference.
He sued KPLC based on the complaints that could be classified into broad categories as follows: Overbilling, reduction in units, malfunctioning equipment, quality of electricity, customer care, bill adjustments, unexplained and fluctuating tariffs, standard charges exceeding the value of actual electricity and standing amounts deducted from some accounts.
“With all these I knew there was a big heist happening at KPLC and I had a backup for it, that is why I was so confident,” Mboya stated.
“I even further sought to have the Court declare that Kenya Power had made false or misleading representation with respect to electricity tariffs and bills to its customers, thereby, infringing on their consumer rights,” Mboya disclosed while crowd applauses.
Mboya explained to audience participating in the Wed conference that the petition case became so easy to handle that there were no difficulties. “This made the Kenya Power to admit to have been inflating electricity bill of from its clients,” Mboya explained amid cheering.
Finally Mboya won the petition case against KPLC for inflating electricity bills to its innocent consumers. The High Court therefore has ordered the Kenya Power to pay the lawyer all cost incurred pursuing the matter.
The letter dated October 23 by the High Court Judge is directing first respondent, Kenya Power Company to pay the petitioner, Mboya.
Nevertheless, Mboya says he is not in a hurry to be paid as long as justice has prevailed to his clients.
“I am not in a hurry to be paid because it was not about money but justice for all Kenyans consuming Kenya Power energy. I am giving them sufficient time to comply with the Court Orders after which I will take action for non-compliance,” Mboya stated.
However, while Mr. Mboya was teasing the participants who were also energy consumers and his clients as well, he asked them how much time is sufficient. Majority chorused in one accord, as one month is justifiable.
“Now I understand KPLC and Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) are negotiating to share the cost since both participated in the electricity bills muddle,” Mboya exposed.
“How they share it out is not my worry neither a big deal as long as they corporate and do it in sufficient time,” Mboya concluded.
Peres Tett, one of the participants said KPLC has outgrown its capacity and it is high time its monopoly was rescinded. “It reminds me of the poor services we received from other giants communications companies before liberalization.”
Currently, KPLC clients are free to take their inflated electricity bills to KPLC bank halls for complains and rectification. Unfortunately no cash refunds are made except for approved bills forwarding depending on faults.
And for any energy consumption conservation, innovations and technology ideas or energy investment or training and for energy monitoring for excellence and sustaining energy efficiency, contact the WED organizers, Website:wed.eenovators.com or Email:firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel +254 791 839 959.