Kenya Power Tokens puzzle
Kenya Power tokens puzzle unravelled
Information is power! Having knowledge over anything is worthwhile than living in the dark. You could be quick to throw tantrums whenever you feel pinched and punched especially into the very belly of your wallet. As the cost of living draws closer and closer to the bottom of your meager wallet, having the right information can help you readjust to the new expenses bracket.
Kenya Power has transformed. I mean, it has not been left behind with the rising cost of living. As the Matatu industry is stepping into the digital quagmire, our lovely monopolist power grid are enjoying the services of their tokens technology through the tiny digital meters that they installed in a few homes under a pilot project. If you’ve not been connected or put into their digital system, they’re coming.
I arrived home one evening, when mama mboga had closed shop, to a home with a gadget fixed on the wall next to my door. A twin black cable meandering through the ventilation from the gadget into my house. I smiled, finally the landlord has decided to install password locks mechanism to our houses. How brilliant!
Well, the ‘security’ mechanism wasn’t for me and my house hold but, the whole idea was to save the landlord from tenants who shifted out of his home with huge electricity bills. It was the Kenya Power’s digital prepaid electricity meter.
I cursed and cursed as I knew what my landlord had put me into. That’s being responsible for every unit of electricity my house consumed. In addition, some of my colleagues elsewhere had had their appertments installed with the same, and they were all co-mplai-ning! I was made to believe that these prepaid meters were damn expensive. ‘eti zinakula sana’
The first month passed without much hassle since the meter came with 30 ‘free’ pre-installed units. Soon it started a beebing sound that could not go out since I didn’t know how to turn it off. It signalled that I was running low of bundles, sorry, units. Armed with some recharge Tokens, I refuelled my little meter.
I joined the complaints club with my colleagues. What we didn’t do is read and understand the information behind these prepaid meter. However, the details were scanty though. Getting facts from a government institution sometimes will be squeezing tears from an alligator.
Yesterday, I tweeted Kenya Power customer care. Yes, they are on Twitter! Their Twitter handle is @KenyaPower, follow them. They do respond to every single tweet they receive, answer all questions though in brief.
My engagement with Kenya Power customer care online was received by one ^CB. That’s how they call themselves on Twitter, I think they borrowed a leaf from @SafaricomCare. They use those initials there.
My question was simple but bitter. This is how it went down :
@KenyaPower Am puzzled once again, make me understand: on 17/7 for 500 I got 31.7 units, today 500 I get 19.6. How do you arrive at that? – 31 Jul
@Alelizah You are on a step tariff meaning the system keeps a record of all purchases and based on that,calculates the step you are in.^CB
@Alelizah Due to this factor, two tokens of the same amount may not give you the same number of units depending on the step you are in. ^CB
@KenyaPower ^CB Must I belong in that step tariff? Can it be changed to another tariff? how does that step tariff charge? – 31 Jul
@Alelizah The step tariff is also the Domestic Tariff and it applies to both postpaid and prepaid customers^CB
Alelizah charges: 0 – 50 units-ksh2.50 per unit, 51-1500 units-ksh13.68 per unit, units above 1500-ksh 21.57 per unit. ^CB
The curious me wasn’t satisfied with that and the conversation was carried over on phone. The customer care attendant called me afterwards and we had a long chat until I had no more questions. My puzzle was unraveled and I felt satisfied with her patient responses.
See, this prepaid meter charges just as the old post paid meters. They have a fixed monthly charge of Ksh.150 and several other I don’t knows, they call service charge. For a prepaid customer? No body comes to read the meter or service my wires in the house!
For those who wonder why is it that when you top up more than once a month the units tend to reduce with each top up. This may be the case if you happen to purchase or consume more than 50 units within the same month. You initial purchase of tokens that month will face the fixed charges plus VAT of course. Whatever the amount after such deductions will be used to give you tokens worth the remaining amount. So, if you happen to receive like 30 units in your initial purchase, that information is registered and saved with your account/meter number. In the event you squander your units before the following month, then you may be forced to buy more tokens. If you buy, say 30 more units, your account will add the previous number of unit to your new purchase and that will elevate your consumption to a new step that is, >51 units and you will be charged a high rate as if you bought 60 units at once that month. However, fixed charge is not applied here but tax is a mandatory.
This means you will end up with less units in your subsequent purchases within the same month if you spend the same amount of money just as the initial purchase. The record is reset in the new month and again the deductions start afresh as if you never purchased any units before. If you have units that run over to the following month and you do not purchase any token for let’s say three months, be ready for a huge debt in the name of accrued fixed charge unpaid for those three months.
If you are able to consume less than 50 units a month, no matter how many times you purchase tokens, the amount of units you get would be the same since you will be charged using the first step of less than 50 units for each purchase.
These tokens are charged according to how a heavy or light domestic consumer you are. The ultimate secret to getting less electricity bills is watch your units every minute and reduce your consumption rate to less than 50 units per month.
If you rent or move into a room that has not been occupied for months, ask your landlord to pay up the accrued monthly fixed charges before you can buy any tokens, or else, you will pay for all those months nobody was using that prepaid meter. To know any of any unpaid bills or having issues with your connection , just tweet @KenyaPower with your location and or meter number.