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How Illegal Electricity Connections and Supply Have Risked the Lives of Many in Nairobi

Over the past few week, Kenya Power and Lighting Company has been carrying out operations countrywide to cut off illegal power connections. Thes illegal connections are more rampant in Nairobi's slums and middle class estates. But most importantly is the risk these illegal power connectors take to do their connections.

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Illegal electricity supply is a profitable business, it doesn't cost the supplier any extra capital other than purchasing a few cables and risking their own lives. In Nairobi's slums such Kibera, Mathare and Korogocho, being a supplier is a route to wealth. At some point fights erupt amongst illegal suppliers who think their territories have been invaded. These suppliers charge about 200 to 300 per month from every household.

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While much focus has been on suppliers who climb dangerous electric poles with high voltage transformers, many forget the lives of consumers who handle the power everyday in their houses. Illegal suppliers use naked cables and are never keen on the path followed by the cables, as long as they get to their consumer points. When you visit, for example the slums that I have mentioned above, or you just look at them from a raised point, you'll understand what I mean. One may think the slum itself is a transformer or is an alternative power station, because the way cables meander on top of building, I only pray visitors never mistake them for hanging lines.

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And while many think the cables only run on top of the buildings, wait until it rains. You'll notice smokes coming out from different parts on footpaths. This makes the paths unsafe for kids and even adults who have no idea of the courses. This means even the underground cables are not coated.

Slummy residents are notorious of illegal power supply and connections. Middle class residences on the other hand use, electric poles for WiFi cables which is also a very risky move. First, these cable installers climbe the poles without protective gears. Then at some point the poorly fixed cables causes electric cables to collide, resulting to either outages loss of a life or two or even both.

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Unfortunately, Kenyans who witness these activities have no option but to hope for the best but expect the worst, because the moment you raise your concern, you become an enemy of the people. The problem mounts when you report, you'll never have peace in that particular estate.

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Kenya Power and Lighting Company Kibera Korogocho Mathare Nairobi


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