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Kenya Power Calls for Ban on Copper Exports and Crackdown on Scrap Metal Dealers to Curb Vandalism

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In a bid to tackle the rampant vandalism of power infrastructure, Kenya Power, the utility firm, has called for a total ban on copper exports and stringent action against rogue scrap metal dealers.

According to Kenya Power’s Managing Director and CEO, Eng Joseph Siror, the company’s investigations have revealed a direct link between vandalism and the copper waste business. Siror stated that during the government’s ban on scrap metal between January and May 2022, there were no reported cases of power infrastructure vandalism. However, the cases spiked immediately after the ban was lifted.

In the period between May and December 2022, Kenya Power lost a total of 76 transformers worth Sh68 million due to vandalism. The company’s losses continued to mount, with 365 transformers worth Sh328 million being destroyed in 2023, and a further 78 transformers worth Sh78 million in 2024.

“If you compute the cost of unserved energy, loss of business and possibly lives, the losses are in billions of Kenya shillings,” Siror said during a stakeholder engagement with representatives from the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek), the Scrap Metal Council, and scrap metal dealers.

To address the issue, Siror called for the vetting of all traders dealing in the scrap metal business, including collectors, dealers, smelters, and exporters. He also proposed that all traders in the sector, especially those dealing in copper and aluminum, should be required to declare their sources to ensure traceability and accountability.

The MD further emphasized the need for a more robust regulatory framework in the scrap metal trade to weed out rogue elements who are direct beneficiaries of vandalism. He lauded the provisions in the Energy Act of 2019, which prescribe a Sh5 million fine or a five-year jail term, or both, for perpetrators of power infrastructure vandalism.

“While many participants in the scrap metal industry are legitimate, a few unscrupulous dealers perpetuate this vice. We urge all stakeholders to join us in rooting out these elements to ensure a sustainable and reliable power supply for all Kenyans,” Siror said.

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