Blackout hits parts of Nairobi after tree falls on main power supply line

Kenya Power worker prunes a tree near an electricity line in Nyeri last May. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI
Kenya Power worker prunes a tree near an electricity line in Nyeri last May. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI 

Several parts of Westlands in Nairobi experienced a power blackout for hours Wednesday after a tree fell on the main electricity lines.

The blackout came just days after another major outage affected power supply to the Coast, Mount Kenya and Nairobi regions — which was blamed on a “technical fault”.

Kenya Power network management general manager Daniel Tare said offices, residences and businesses along Rhapta Road, Riverside Drive and parts of Kileleshwa were affected by the power cutoff.

“Trees account for 60 per cent of power supply disruptions and we have an ongoing project to cut down trees leaning dangerously next to power lines and trim overgrown trees as well as any other vegetation growing within the road reserves that interfere with power lines,” he said.

Mr Tare said overgrown trees lining various roads would be pruned and some felled to reduce rising incidents of power disruption.

Last year, Kenya Power protested against Mombasa County move to block its staff from trimming and cutting down trees that touched power lines.

The dispute saw Kenya Power move to court and obtained an order allowing it to launch the National Wayleave Trace Maintenance Project to clear all vegetation and cut down trees in areas reserved for power lines.

Frequent power blackouts have seen many businesses install standby generators for use during supply cut-offs, raising their operating costs.

Power outages have in the past been blamed on vandalism and an old power distribution infrastructure that is currently being upgraded.
Old wooden poles are being replaced with new concrete ones for high voltage lines.