Kenya Power boss calls for total ban on export of copper and aluminium to cut vandalism costs

Kenya Power Managing Director and CEO Dr (Eng) Joseph Siror has called for urgent imposition of a total ban on export on copper and aluminium to help cut the massive costs occasioned by runaway cases of vandalism.

Dr (Eng) Siror was speaking, Wednesday, at a Consumer Dialogue Forum hosted by the Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK) on establishment of Community Policing Forums Against Vandalism of Critcal National Infrastructure.

Here is the full speech: Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am grateful to be here this morning for this important forum. Today’s meeting is key to supporting our quest to provide quality, safe, and reliable power to all.

I thank the leadership of the Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) for recognizing the detrimental effects of vandalism on power supply and organizing this dialogue session.


I hope that by the end of this meeting, we will reach a consensus on how we can support each other in combating this vice, which affects not only Kenya Power but all electricity customers in the cocountry.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Kenya Power’s key mandate is to plan for sufficient electricity generation and transmission capacity to meet demand, build and maintain the power distribution and transmission network, and retail electricity to its customers. With a customer base of over 9 million, a power grid comprising over 307,000 km of high and medium voltage lines, extending in both rural and urban areas, and over 75% electricity connectivity, we recognize the vital role we play in powering the nation’s economic prosperity.

Electricity is a vital aspect of our daily lives and an essential commodity for economic activities worldwide. From powering homes and businesses to facilitating modern communication and transportation systems, it also enhances security and improves the quality of our lives.


Despite the significant role Kenya Power plays in ensuring uninterrupted connectivity, vandalism of energy infrastructure has been rampant, causing detrimental effects on the economy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Vandalism causes unplanned outages, inconveniencing customers. It poses risks to human and animal lives as vandals leave power infrastructure exposed, leading to the possibility of electrocution.

There are also risks in power-dependent sectors without backup, like High Dependency Units (HDUs), Intensive Care Units (ICUs), and New Born Units. Vandalism hinders economic growth as it increases the cost of doing business, risks widespread power outages, compromises law and order, and leads to loss of foreign investor confidence, among many other negative effects.


Our investigations have revealed a direct link between vandalism and the copper waste business. For example, between January and May 2022, when the government banned scrap metal dealing, we had zero cases of vandalism. However, immediately after the moratorium was lifted, we saw a serious spike, with 76 transformers worth KSh 68 million vandalized between May and December 2022.

Adding the cost of vandalized copper windings, braces, meters, among others, the loss was even higher.

In 2023, we lost 365 transformers worth KSh.328 million. In 2024, we have so far had 78 transformers vandalized, worth KSh.78 million. The loss constitutes only the cost of installing a new transformer. If you compute the cost of unserved energy, loss of business, and possibly lives, the losses are in billions of Kenya shillings.


This is a huge loss to the economy and is unsustainable. While many of you here engage in legitimate business, a few unscrupulous dealers are responsible for this vice. We urge you to join us in rooting them out.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The brazenness and contempt with which these crimes are committed are troubling and a blight on efforts to make the country a convenient place to do business. Theft and vandalism of Kenya Power property are increasingly becoming a menace, costing millions of shillings in losses every year, taking up a significant slice of the firm’s budget, and threatening to derail our efforts to expand the grid to reach more Kenyans

Robust network

Kenya Power has invested significant resources in building a robust network of distribution infrastructure. However, our investigations have revealed an unholy alliance between vandals and local suppliers. Vandals work with local scrap metal dealers who then supply the vandalized equipment to main scrap metal dealers, and finally, the smelters or exporters wait at the end.

In addition to being directly responsible for theft due to their illegal connections, electricity thieves cause damage to Kenya Power’s equipment when they steal electricity directly from the firm’s distribution network, bypassing the meters installed at customers’ premises.


Ladies and Gentlemen, The challenge in combating this menace lies in its far-reaching consequences. However, with the implementation of the Energy Act 2019, there has been an avenue for more stringent actions. The Act criminalizes tampering with electricity supply installations, energy theft, vandalism, and damage of streetlights and power installations, attracting a KSh.5 million fine or imprisonment for five years or both. This is not only a deterrent for would-be vandals but also a strong statement that protecting our shared resources is a collective responsibility.

It is also worth commending our Judiciary arm of Government for its support in ensuring that those found guilty of vandalizing the Company’s facilities are dealt with accordingly. Between 2022 and 2024, we have had 12 successful convictions, with some vandals receiving jail terms as high as 30 years and KSh.15 million fine. Another 166 cases are pending before court, and we hope for their quicker conclusion.


To further reduce vandalism, we at Kenya Power have embarked on several initiatives, including collaborative partnerships with law enforcement agencies such as the National Police Service (NPS), National Intelligence Service (NIS), Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), and the National Government Administration Officers (NGAO). This partnership has enabled us to arrest 178 vandals between 2022 and 2024.

Other anti-vandalism initiatives include welding transformer units’ bases on channels, installing transformer units above high voltage lines, installing alarm systems on transformers, switching from oil-filled to dry-type transformer units, using aluminum transformers, and extensive intelligence gathering. We have also enhanced armed patrols and surveillance, conducted raids on rogue scrap metal dealers, and engaged with the community.


Ladies and Gentlemen, Going forward, we intend to enhance collaboration with stakeholders in the scrap metal industry, so we can transition from a reactive response to a more predictive one. It is imperative for us to work together to combat this menace that is slowly but surely robbing Kenyans of access to affordable and reliable power supply. Destruction of power infrastructure—particularly transformers—should be denounced by everyone as it is a crime against all Kenyans, given our ever-increasing need for reliable electricity.

We propose the following measures:

Total ban on copper exports – In 2023 alone, Kenya exported copper waste and scrap worth KSh 6.7 billion, yet does not produce the same.


Declaration of sources by all scrap metal dealers dealing with copper and aluminum.

Continuous vetting of all stakeholders engaged in the scrap metal trade, including collectors, main scrap metal dealers, smelters, and exporters.

Joint inspections of business premises to ensure compliance with the law.

Filing of returns by dealers as per the Scrap Metal Act and Scrap Metal regulations.

A more robust regulatory framework in the scrap metal trade to help weed out rogue elements who are direct beneficiaries of vandalism.

Cost recovery

Ladies and Gentlemen, As I conclude, let me remind us that by failing to protect our power infrastructure assets, we are collectively digging ourselves into a bigger hole. These losses will ultimately be recovered from customers or taxpayers through increased tariffs or taxes. I implore all of us to join hands and fight this vice. Thank you so much and God bless you.

This website stores cookies on your computer. Cookie Policy