The New KCC milk plant in Kiganjo, Nyeri County has halted operations after a power transformer caught fire Monday evening.
The creamery's board chair, Matu Wamae, said the factory had stopped receiving milk from farmers in the area after the plant was plunged into darkness.
“We are very devastated by the damage. The factory has had to put on hold its operations because there is no power. We cannot work without power,” Mr Matu said.
The fire broke out around 4 p.m. at the transformer station. Workers attempted to put it out using available fire equipment but with the blaze fast spreading, the county fire department was called in to help.
Firefighters then managed to contain it a few minutes past 5 p.m. but the damage was done.
According to New KCC's management, the power interruption did not affect milk that was already at the plant for cooling and lifting. However, the State firm says it was forced to stop receiving milk from farmers who will now have to transport their yields to the Nanyuki depot.
The factory receives about 60,000 litres of milk per day for processing.
The cause of the fire was not immediately established but after further analysis, Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC concluded that a worn out faulty terminal cable likely caused the blaze.
Kenya Power said that although the 630kva transformer is still functional, it was damaged and will have to be replaced.
“The transformer is still functional despite the damage. But for safety reasons we will have to replace it,” the utility firm's official Kevin Sang said.
According to sources who did not want to be named for fear of reprisal, the transformer was installed barely three days ago.
However, Kenya Power said the New KCC transformer was not faulty and that the fire was caused by a faulty cable.
“This particular transformer was not faulty. It is a Toshiba build and our teams have established that the fire was caused by an old cable connecting to the transformer’s terminals,” Mr Sang said.
As at yesterday, Kenya Power engineers had begun working to replace the device but said it would take a while due to accessibility issues.
“We are working round the clock to ensure we replace it either by the end of today or tomorrow,” Mr Sang added.