On 11 January 2022, Kenya was hit by a nationwide power outage after pylons supporting high-voltage transmission lines collapsed.
Soon after a statement attributed to Kenya Power, the country’s state-owned utility, started circulating on Facebook. It carries the company’s logo and is headed “Customer Service”. Its subject line reads: “Compensation Process for Recent Power Outage”.
Some versions of the statement are dated 10 January 2018, but others have no date. But they were posted in January 2022.
The statement tells customers affected by the power outage to submit their names, electricity accounts and “indicate [the] exact TIME the blackout hit your premises, write down the exact number of premises occupants, [and] provide a list of electrical equipment that weren’t working”.
It adds: “In case you missed your TV news please indicate channel, indicate number and type of mobile phones that lost battery charge. For those who use electric cookers and did not eat supper please give detailed information. In case you lost any refrigerator stored items please indicate type of food, quantity and condition upon restoration of power. Quantify the exact loss in Kenya Shillings. Utmost honesty is called for. KPLC will not deal with exaggerated losses.”
After this procedure, the statement says, customers are to “print the information in MS Excel, take the printed copy and place it in a dustbin and wait for the next blackout”.
Kenya Power previously blamed a rogue monkey for nationwide blackouts, and has had shocking governance challenges, but did it really issue the widely shared statement? We checked.
Statement fake – and old
The same statement went viral in 2018 after another power outage in the country. But it was not issued by Kenya Power.
On 12 January 2022 Kenya posted the statement on Facebook and Twitter, stamped “FAKE”.
January 12, 2022
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