At the beginning of last month, I ran out of electricity tokens while having guests over. Apart from the darkness, I had another issue i.e. I only had Kshs 200 on M-Pesa with which to buy tokens.

That Kshs 200 bought me 3.7 units. Only. So you can imagine how quickly I found an excuse to kick my guests out before my reputation went to the dogs.

This had me curious as to why an amount of money (Kshs 200) that had served me so well previously had gotten me such a small number of units. What I came to find out is that there is a fixed charge of Kshs 150 that is subtracted from your first transaction of the month. When I inevitably bought another Kshs 200 worth of tokens, I received 28.3 units.

Another trick I learnt is that there are different rates per unit depending on that month’s consumption. For the first 50 units in a month, the rate is Kshs 2.50 per unit. After 50 units and up until 1500 units, the charge is Kshs 12.75 per unit. Thereafter the cost is Kshs 20.57 per unit (though I think that you must be welding in your home to accomplish use of that many units).

Take the month I had illustrated above as an example. I had currently used 28.3+3.7= 32.0 units. If I was to buy another Kshs 200 worth of tokens and received another 28.3 units, they would be billed as follows:

The first 50-32= 18 units at Kshs 2.5 per unit

The remaining 28.3-18= 10.3 units at Kshs 12.75 per unit.

There are other variables that affect how many units you receive for a certain amount of money. The one discussed above, however, is the only one you can have direct control over.

The other variable charges will be included in an upcoming follow-up article.