Kenya Power calls for total ban on waste copper in bid to address rampant vandalism

Kenya Power has called for a total ban on waste copper in a bid to curb rampant vandalism of power infrastructure.

Speaking during a joint stakeholders’ forum attended by representatives from the Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK), the Scrap Metal Council, and scrap metal dealers, the Company’s
Managing Director & CEO, Dr. (Eng.) Joseph Siror, cited a connection between local trade in waste copper and vandalism.

“Our investigations have revealed a direct link between vandalism and copper waste business,” he stated.

He noted that for example, between January and May 2022 when the government banned scrap metal dealing,
there was zero cases of vandalism.

However, immediately the moratorium was lifted, there was a serious spike in vandalism cases, and 76 transformers worth KSh 68 million were vandalized
between May and December 2022.

According to the Power Company, the loss constitutes only the cost of installing a new transformer.

“If you compute the cost of unserved energy, loss of business and possibly lives, the loses are in billions of Kenya shillings,” Dr. (Eng.) Siror said.

The Managing Director further added that in 2023, the Company lost another 365 transformers worth Kshs 328 million, and this year, 78 transformers worth KSh 78 million have been vandalised so far.

He called for the vetting of all stakeholders engaged in the scrap metal trade including local collectors, main scrap metal dealers, smelters and exporters.

“We propose that all traders dealing with scrap metal, especially copper and aluminium, must declare their sources to ensure traceability and accountability,” he added.

In addition, joint inspection of business premises to ensure compliance with the law and filling of returns by dealers as per the Scrap Metal Act and Scrap Metal regulations, should be implemented.

He also called for a more robust regulatory framework in the scrap metal trade to help weed out rogue elements who are direct beneficiaries of vandalism.

Dr Siror hailed the provisions in the Energy Act 2019, which criminalizes tampering with electricity
installations, energy theft, vandalism, and damage to streetlights and power infrastructure, which he said was playing a big role in combating vandalism.

The Act prescribes a KSh 5 million fine
or a five-year prison sentence, or both, for offenders.

“This serves as a strong deterrent and underscores the collective responsibility to protect our shared resources. While many participants in the scrap metal industry are legitimate, a few are involved in unscrupulous businesses,” he said.

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