Kenya Power, the state-owned electricity distribution company, has announced that it will start selling high-speed internet to businesses in order to diversify its revenues and capitalise on growing data usage in the country.
Kenya Power owns and operates most of the electricity transmission and distribution systems in the country and sells electricity to over 8 million customers, and has been leasing fibre-optic cables attached to its transmission lines to internet service providers.
According to Business Daily Africa, in the coming weeks, the electricity distributor will announce a package that will allow its corporate customers to buy internet and electricity as a bundle after running pilot tests with larger power users.
“We will provide our corporate sector customers with a bundled service of electricity and internet,” the company told Business Daily in a statement.
Kenya Power will be taking on Safaricom, Wananchi Group (Zuku) and Jamii Telecoms that control 85.1 per cent of Kenya’s fixed data market.
A week ago, workers threatened a strike after the company resorted to laying off about 2 000 workers to cut costs and make up for lost revenue, after a 15% reduction in electricity tariff, according to Business Insider Africa.
Workers said that the management had failed to consult them with the plan to cut staff. The company allegedly wanted to replace the “expensive, older stuff” with 830 younger stuff that would require less pay.
“The management is hereby advised to withdraw its proposal dated January 24, 2022, to pre-empt massive withdrawal of labour or otherwise until the constitutional rights of workers are respected and actualised,” Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers Union (Ketawu), said in a public notice.
Kenya Power had 8.59 million customers in December, including 404,800 small businesses and big industrial customers.
“Looking at the business landscape, the opportunities are immense and available for everyone,” the utility said in a statement.
In the next 10 years, the company wants to sell internet directly to homes, especially homes based in rural areas.