Kenyans in darkness after nationwide power outage


A dark Kisumu street in a past power blackout. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Kenyans have been plunged into darkness following a nationwide power outage.

Most parts of the country suffered power cuts due to "a system fault on the grid", the utility firm said.

At 5.40 pm on Thursday, Kenya Power said: "We have experienced a system fault on the grid resulting in a power outage in most parts of the country.

The blackout affected major cities including Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa and Murang'a.

"We regret any inconvenience caused and urge our customers to be patient as we work to restore normal power supply as soon as possible," Kenya Power said in a statement.

In as many months, Kenyans have experienced nationwide blackouts, setting a worrying precedent. The last time was on 10 December 2023, when a nationwide blackout hit the country, not sparing the capital, Nairobi.

The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) was among the key facilities affected, a phenomenon that led to the sacking and reshuffling of top aviation bosses.

Power outage

A phone repairer in his shop after a power outage in Mombasa.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

The worst and longest power outage in the country's history occurred on August 25, 2023. The cause remained a mystery, with Kenya Power blaming a fault at the Turkana wind firm, while the wind plant blamed the grid instead.

Earlier this week, Kenya Power defended itself against allegations that it 'interrupts' power supply whenever it wants, especially when it rains. The company explained to its customers the link between rain and unplanned power outages.

Passengers stranded at JKIA as country thrown into major power blackout

The company explained the possible scenarios that lead to blackouts. From heavy rains to strong winds, Kenya Power said, these shake trees causing branches to touch and occasionally fall on power lines.

"This triggers a circuit breaker resulting in a power outage," it explained, adding that it had "taken precautionary measures to prevent unplanned outages".

Kenya Power enjoys a monopoly in the supply and distribution of electricity, and bulk system disturbance results in blackouts across the country.