New Kenya Power board team has its work cut out

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 23:46 |
Kenya Power staff working on a power line. Photo/Courtesy

Kenya Power has tapped five new faces to the board as non-executive directors to assist the utility firm to rekindle its dimming lights.

Work is cut out for the new team which includes outgoing Kenya Association of Manufacturers chair Sachen Gudka, civil engineers Abdulrazaq Ali and Elizabeth Rogo, lawyers Carolyne Kittony- Waiyaki and Vivienne Yeda, the latter also serving as the Director-General of East African Development Bank (EADB).

The new team finds a monopoly that is between a rock and a hard place amid huge expectations that they will turn around the troubled firm whose profits are estimated to dip by at least 25 per cent this year on the back of Covid-19 shocks.

Having posted a Sh262 million profit after tax in June 2019, in what was a significant dip from Sh3.27 billion for the year ending June 2018, the new directors have already smelt the coffee.

However, truth is that monopolies of the stature of Kenya Power simply pass on costs to consumers in the form of bills, so they must not give excuses why the firm should not be in a profitable track.

The new team must bring the troubled firm to order, knowing that they join the board amid powerful undercurrents, not least because the government controls a 50.1 per cent stake.

This means they must come in as tough cookies out to streamline operations.

Shareholders must quickly be told why in its most recent books of accounts for April’s electricity, sales dipped to a four-year low of 645.29 kilowatts, the lowest since April 2016 – when KPLC sold a paltry 621.35 kilowatts, and how to turn around the numbers.

Be it as it may, the new board must bring back sanity to the company currently grappling with a confidence crisis amid a myriad of corruption allegations and dwindling revenues.

They must keep their eyes focused on deepening financial management through improved operational efficiency, particularly by reducing system losses, growing sales volumes and managing costs countrywide.

Above all they must tackle vicious cartels who have been linked to nearly all ills bedeviling the utility firm.

It is expected that the new team already knows how to work amid political gain-standing which will come into play particularly on tariffs and ensure they stand on the side that serves the interests of the country and the shareholders.

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