Soon after releasing ksh1.5 billion to complete stalled City and Dandora stadium, Nairobi County appointed Governor Ann Kananu has bought a sh13 million generator.
Nairobi Governor said Nairobi County has already coughed out Sh13 million on a generator to power City Hall and the City Hall Annex during power shortages.
The proposal, which is part of the Nairobi County Annual Development Plan for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023, is expected to be implemented in the current fiscal year.
The Sh128 million budgeted for the purchase of the generator is part of a total of Sh128 million to be spent by the Ann Kananu-led government on various projects, including giving City Hall a facelift via restoration, refurbishing, and repainting in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022.
“As part of projects under the office of the Governor for the financial year ending June 30, 2021, Sh13 million will go towards the purchase of a generator,” reads in part the document tabled before Nairobi County Assembly last week.
Kenya Power has cut power to City Hall many times over electrical arrears, with the first interruption being in January 2015, when City Hall was thrown into darkness for three days following a year of legal fights.
The power blackout, he said, had crippled delivery of services in offices in City Hall and City Hall Annex indefinitely.
“The outage began on Wednesday and we have been forced to use the generator to operate. We were told the power blackout was due to unpaid bill,” said a security officer manning one of the entrances to the two buildings.
When reached for comment, Governor Mike Sonko’s spokesperson Ben Mulwa said the power supply was cut off on Tuesday night following the county government’s failure to clear the outstanding arrears.
“We are, however, currently in talks with Kenya Power to try and get them to turn the lights back on in order to salvage our operations. These are already ongoing discussions but Kenya Power has insisted that they need a settlement of about Sh170 million before we can now agree on a way forward on the issue of what is outstanding to each other,” said Mr Mulwa.
On his part, acting Nairobi County Secretary Justus Kathenge confirmed that the power blackout is as a result of the unpaid bill but expressed optimism that the situation will be resolved soon.
“The issue is being looked at and it will be resolved soon. There has been an issue also with accessing Ifmis to invoice the payment as we cannot pay them manually. We are also looking into a debt swap as they owe us money and we also owe them some,” said Mr Kathenge.
This has frequently left various county government sites and institutions in the dark owing to conflicts stemming from the inability to balance the debt.
While a result of the power outages, services at the impacted county facilities have been disrupted as the two bodies fight over the electrical bill, some of which was inherited from the former city council.
In May of this year, the Nairobi County administration set aside Sh691 million to pay off the debt in order to put a stop to the recurrent power outages caused by the utility company turning off the energy supply.
City Hall owes the power distributor Sh691.58 million in energy bills, according to the Nairobi County Debt Management Strategy Paper for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022.
The allocation, according to Nairobi County Assembly Budget and Appropriation committee chairman Robert Mbatia, is designed to put a stop to the back and forth between City Hall and Kenya Power about debts owing to each other.
In June, Kenya Power struck again cutting off electricity supply to City Hall and City Hall Annex after the county delayed releasing the money.
City Hall has in the past been reluctant to clear the debt claiming the utility provider owes them Sh856 million in wayleave charges that have not been paid for years.