Kenya: Hotel Sues Kenya Power After Sh30,000 Monthly Bill Rises to Sh2.6 Million

21 October 2021

A company that runs a hotel, bar and restaurant business has sued Kenya Power over an increase in its monthly electricity bill from an average of Sh30,000 to Sh2.6 million.

The Dhow House Ltd claims that Kenya Power is violating its rights as a consumer by unjustly, unlawfully and unreasonable inflating its bills.

It is seeking a declaration that Kenya Power's action of issuing it with the electricity bill of Sh2.6 million as at May 25 is outside the applicable tariff, illegal and violates its rights under the Constitution.

In its petition at the High Court in Mombasa, the Dhow House Ltd says that on March 23, it received a bill of Sh14,763, which it paid promptly, and from that day up to May 25, it did not receive any bill, but it paid Sh30,000 to ensure it remains on track with the payments.

It further says that on May 25, it was issued with an erroneous and inflated bill of Sh2.6 million for that month yet its average monthly consumption for the previous months was between Sh25,000 and Sh35,000 a month.

The company says that upon receipt of the erroneous bill, it made multiple follow-ups with Kenya Power and even wrote to the utility company letters disputing the bill.

Erroneous bill

It further argues that it lodged a complaint with the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) through a letter to its Director General.

"Despite multiple follow ups with the respondent (Kenya Power) and the authority (Epra), Kenya Power has deliberately failed to either justify or correct the electricity bills to reflect the accurate amount consumed," argues the Dhow House Ltd.

The company says that by issuing it with an erroneous bill without justification, Kenya Power violated the principles of good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability.

It further says that Kenya Power violated its right to access of information it (Kenya Power) held regarding the electricity bills despite being aware of the Dhow House's numerous inquiries through letters and personal visits.

"The respondent has unlawfully failed to give the petitioner written reasons for the inflation of its electricity bill despite being aware that it (petitioner) stands to be affected by the inflated bill," part of the suit documents state.

Disputed bill

The Dhow House Ltd further says that Kenya Power, through its agents, are coercing it to accept the disputed bill and visited its premises threatening to disconnect the power supply to the premises unless payment is made in full.

It also wants an order issued directing Kenya Power to correct or delete all untrue or misleading information regarding the disputed bill.

The Dhow House Ltd also wants a permanent injunction issued restraining Kenya Power from demanding, charging, billing or recovering from it the erroneous electricity bill.

The Dhow House Ltd says that it will suffer irreparable damage unless the orders it is seeking are issued as Kenya Power has threatened to disconnect power supply unless and until it pays the bill.

It also says that its business, whose stock consists of mainly perishables that are entirely dependent on electricity, will be affected indefinitely, despite not being in any lawful arrears.

"It will be extremely difficult or impossible to obtain any compensation from Kenya Power because it is a matter of public knowledge that the power company is facing numerous financial constraints," part of the suit documents state.

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