Editorials

Fix root cause of frequent power outages

kplc

Kenya Power Company Technicians replace the Wooden Posts with the Concrete ones along Nyerere Avenue in Mombasa as the Company steps up efforts to curb Power Outages in the County in this photo taken on 4th May 2021. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

BDgeneric_logo

Summary

  • The latest blackout comes on the back of an increasing trend of breakdowns that continue to inconvenience millions of Kenyans and deny thousands of businesses the chance to participate in the economy.
  • The outage has seen hundreds of businesses across major towns in Kenya resort to generators to power their operations, increasing the cost of doing business.

Kenya was on Tuesday plunged into another nationwide blackout following the breakdown of a 220kV Kiambere – Embakasi electricity transmission line at 10.45 am.

The line evacuates power from the 168-megawatt Kiambere Hydropower Station which is part of the Seven Forks hydropower stations located along Tana River.

The latest blackout comes on the back of an increasing trend of breakdowns that continue to inconvenience millions of Kenyans and deny thousands of businesses the chance to participate in the economy.

The outage has seen hundreds of businesses across major towns in Kenya resort to generators to power their operations, increasing the cost of doing business.

The incident is happening barely a few weeks after the firm limited electricity supply to some consumers in parts of the country, including Nairobi after a key high-voltage power line collapsed.

Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC said then that parts of the 430 kilometer-long 400 kilovolts (kV) transmission line from Loiyangalani to the Suswa substation collapsed in December, cutting off the 310.25-megawatt Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) plant in Marsabit, which supplies about 17 percent of Kenya’s total peak power demand.

The transmission lines and Suswa substation are owned and operated by the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco).

The power rationing brings back memories of load shedding at the turn of the past decade that left homes in periodic darkness for hours due to low power supply from hydropower plants following an intense drought that saw demand outstrip supply.

The frequent blackouts should now concern the energy ministry which must move swiftly to establish the root causes of the transmission breakdowns.

The investigation should help rule out sabotage coming at a time when Kenya Power is preparing to hand over the operating systems to Ketraco and remove the burden from the utility company.

It should establish the weaknesses in the transmission systems, find out if some of the old aging lines need to be replaced but most importantly put in place mechanisms to ensure that the country is not plunged into a nationwide blackout just because of a fault in one part of the line.