Gitaru power station resumes production after repairs


Energy Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike. Photo/File

The Gitaru hydro-electric power station — which can generate nearly a fifth of the country’s installed capacity — has resumed full production after the completion of maintenance work.

A transformer at one of the turbines at the station blew up last Thursday, just as routine maintenance at the 220 megawatts unit was being completed.

“The other two turbines at Gitaru also had problems but this has been fixed.

“The problems with these turbines is what had caused rationing of power,” said Energy Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike.

Gitaru is the largest of the power stations along the River Tana. Others are Kindaruma, Kamburu, Kiambere and Masinga.

‘The transformer was repaired on Saturday. There is no major problem at Seven Forks now,” said Mike Njeru, KenGen’s corporate communications manager.

The repair of the turbines has lifted the contribution of water sources to the grid, which now stands at 52 per cent from 36 per cent six months ago.

Full capacity

At full capacity, hydro sources account for 67 per cent of the country’s production, with the rest coming from thermal, geothermal and wind installations.

Lower production of power from thermal sources should ideally lead to cheaper power but the water is being conserved for dryer times expected around September .

“We are running most of the hydro at peak while trying to conserve the water, “ said the PS.

Last week, Kenya Power said the benefits of changes in the generation mix to reflect more hydrology would start trickling down in this month’s power bills.

Technocrats plan to use thermal energy for stand-by generation during dry weather to avert power rationing.