350 police officers deployed to guard key power installations

Kenya Power Acting Managing Director Geoffrey Muli, and Benson Mwakina, the Director of Renewable Energy at the Energy ministry during the Clean Energy Conference at the KICC on the sidelines of the 5th Edition of the KAM Summit and Expo dubbed Changamka Shopping Festival that runs to November 5, 2022

The government has deployed 350 police officers to guard key electricity production and distribution installations to curb vandalism such as what was witnessed in January leading to a national power outage.

Distribution pylons owned by Kenya Power came down in January in Embakasi, Nairobi after persistent vandalism—causing a nationwide blackout.

“Energy sector is now classified as a security area and the energy infrastructure has been classified as security infrastructure. Right now we have an energy sector police unit taking care of the infrastructure,” Benson Mwakina, the Director of Renewable Energy at the Energy ministry told delegates at a conference in Nairobi on Thursday.

Energy installations

He said since the formation of the energy sector police unit, patrols around energy installations have been heightened and vandalism attempts prevented, with arrests made.

“Right now every county commissioner in Kenya is part of the energy team. Up to the chief level, they are looking after our infrastructure. We have a team in the Ministry of Energy based at Kawi House headquarters headed by a commissioner of police and he is the one coordinating about 350 officers countrywide to ensure that our installations are safe,” he said.

The ministry says it is putting the security of its infrastructure at the forefront and dedicating resources to ensure continuous patrols, as it terms vandalism a menace that contributes to Kenya Power losses.

Most of the people who vandalise the electricity equipment sell the parts to spare part dealers at throw-away prices.

The State targets to double the fine for vandalising electricity transmission lines, railway and road furniture to Sh20 million, in a push to deter the vice that costs the economy billions every year.

The proposed increase is contained in the Statute Miscellaneous Amendment Bill, 2022 currently before Parliament for debate and passage.