What you need to know:
- Kenya Power attributed Tuesday's outage to the collapse of a pylon supporting the 220-kilometre high-voltage Kiambere-Embakasi line.
- The explanation of a fallen pylon didn’t seem to placate Kenyans, who took to social media to express their anger over the power blackout.
Thousands of businesses across the country suffered huge losses on Tuesday following a power outage that lasted for the better part of the day. Operations in the manufacturing and hospitality sectors, hospitals as well as small businesses that put food on many a table were disrupted from as early as 10.45am to the evening, when power supply was restored.
Kenya Power later attributed the outage to the collapse of a pylon supporting the 220-kilometre high-voltage Kiambere-Embakasi line, whose tower is in Imara Daima, Nairobi.
The decades-old line carries electricity from the 168MW plant, one of the Seven Forks hydropower stations on River Tana besides Kindaruma, Masinga, Kamburu and Gitaru.
However, the explanation of a fallen pylon didn’t seem to placate Kenyans, who took to social media to express their anger over the power blackout. The outage came just weeks after Kenya Power rationed electricity following the collapse of towers supporting a line that connects Loiyangalani to Suswa substation, the primary connection point for power generated from various spots around the country.
The 430km line carries 400KV from the 310.25MW Lake Turkana Wind Power plant in Marsabit County, which supplies around 17 per cent of the country’s total peak power demand.
And while it stands to reason that man-made systems are never perfect and are, therefore, prone to defects —the national grid included — Kenya Power could avert such lengthy disruptions by ensuring proper maintenance of its systems. This is because the losses occasioned by the outage were astronomical, more so for an economy smarting from the Covid-19 crisis.
Admittedly, it may not be feasible for Kenya Power to be compelled to indemnify all the businesses that suffered due to the unscheduled outage as some people have demanded.
However, the utility firm must audit its systems, map out potential risks and work towards averting recurrent disruptions that only serve to dampen the optimism inspired by the recent announcement of lower power tariffs by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, with much lower rates expected in March.