Kenya Power has launched a self-service portal that will enable customers to apply for electricity connections online following a pilot phase that processed 7,000 applications through the platform.
The platform is set to remove the middleman and reduce corruption that has characterised the electricity application process for decades.
Challenges related to the application process have been an Achilles heel in Kenya Power's plan to hook up all households in the country to the grid by next year, with fraud dominating the exercise as cartels fleece unsuspecting individuals who want power connection.
For years, unscrupulous individuals have preyed on households and entities, charging exorbitant fees for electricity connection.
The World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Report 2020 flagged the slow pace of individuals and companies getting connected to electricity as an impediment to the growth of the economy, and ranked Kenya a lowly 70th position globally behind her African peers, Rwanda and Mauritius.
Kenya Power Chief Executive Bernard Ngugi said online applications will drive up the struggling entity's sales by accelerating connections to new users, noting that this is part of the company's multi-pronged turnaround strategy.
The company is also aiming to cut system losses by stemming electricity theft and installing smart meters. It has contracted eight private debt collectors to collect outstanding dues from customers to complement its efforts to boost revenues.
"The portal is in line with one of the company's core strategic pillars of enhancing customer experience aimed at making services more accessible to customers. The convenient application process will also help drive sales, which is among the key pillars of our turnaround strategy," said Mr Ngugi.
"Electricity applications have never attracted any charges and will remain free. This digitised process will help curtail opportunities for middlemen and fraudsters to exploit customers."
Customers can now use Kenya Power's mobile phone App 'My Power' to apply for electricity or visit https://selfservice.kplc.co.ke/ using a computer or their mobile phone, where they will be required to submit land or property ownership documents, national identity cards and PIN certificates through the portal.
Once they apply, users will get a reference number that they can use to query and track their application status via USSD code *977#.
The company will also send customers text messages updating them whenever their applications move to the next stage.
Kenya Power says that the portal will allow users to access other services that include reporting power outages, carrying out prepaid token purchase queries, submitting meter readings to get actual monthly bills for post-paid customers, among others.
It will also reduce the time taken to issue quotations after application, and will also make it easier for the firm to locate a customer's premises in response to service requests.