Why Was Kenya Power’s Sh285 Million Emergency Towers Tender Suspended?


A recent Kenyan High Court decision has cast a shadow over Kenya Power’s efforts to bolster its emergency response capabilities. The court halted the awarding of a Sh285 million (US$2.5 million) tender for the procurement of emergency restoration towers (ERTs) and galvanized steel structures.

Local company Niavana Agencies Limited challenged the tender process, claiming it was unfairly restricted. The tender, issued in October 2023, aimed to acquire ERTs – temporary structures used to bypass damaged power lines and swiftly restore electricity during outages. 

These towers are crucial for Kenya Power to maintain grid stability and minimize service disruptions. In the tender documents, Kenya Power stipulated specific requirements for ERTs and galvanized steel structures, including technical specifications and manufacturing standards. Notably, the tender documents also stated a preference for locally manufactured ERTs.


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Niavana Agencies contested the tender process on the grounds that the local manufacturing preference was an unlawful restriction. The company argued that this clause unfairly disadvantaged international firms and limited competition. According to Kenyan procurement regulations, tenders should generally be open to all qualified bidders, regardless of nationality. 

Niavana Agencies believe they could have supplied the required equipment at a competitive price, even if manufactured outside Kenya. The High Court sided with Niavana Agencies, halting the tender award process. The court’s reasoning centered on the potential violation of fair competition principles enshrined in Kenyan procurement laws. 

The judge noted that while promoting local industries has merit, it should not come at the expense of open and transparent bidding processes. The court’s decision has immediate implications for Kenya Power’s emergency response preparedness.

Delays in acquiring ERTs could potentially lengthen power outage durations following disruptions. This could negatively impact businesses and households reliant on a stable electricity supply.

Beyond the specific tender, the court case raises a broader debate on fairness in Kenya Power’s procurement practices. Proponents of local preference policies argue that such measures stimulate domestic manufacturing and create jobs. 

However, critics argue that these restrictions inflate costs and limit access to potentially better technology and expertise offered by international players. The unresolved tender issue leaves Kenya Power in a precarious position. The company needs to address the court’s concerns and ensure a fair and transparent tender process.

If the issue drags on, Kenya Power might face increased pressure from regulators and potentially experience more frequent power outages due to a lack of adequate emergency response infrastructure.

In conclusion, the court’s decision to halt the tender award for emergency towers highlights the importance of striking a balance between promoting local industries and ensuring fair competition in public procurement processes.

As Kenya Power works towards a resolution, all eyes will be on the company to ensure transparency and abide by legal guidelines in its future tendering practices. Discover supplementary details regarding this article by reading this post: https://kplc.co.ke/.


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