hydroelectric power plant
Pic credit: Aqua jet

In East Africa, Kenya’s power utility, Kenya Power, announced that a major power outage occurred at the Gitaru Hydropower station at 11:30am yesterday morning.

The fault at the Gitaru Hydropower station, which is operated by Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), resulted in loss of generation at the station and subsequent tripping of other sources of power.

Kenya power keeps communication clear

The utility has attributed the incidence to a technical fault, where the technical team worked tirelessly to restore power to West Kenya, North Rift, Central Rift, Nyanza and parts of Nairobi including Westlands, the Central Business District, Parklands, Ruaraka, Hurlingham and surrounding areas later that afternoon.

[quote]In a company statement the power company said: “Efforts to restore supply to all the other areas are currently ongoing. We highly regret the inconvenience caused by the occurrence.”

Kenya Power’s General Manager for Network Management Eng. Daniel Tare, said: “Our technical teams have been able to restore supply to the affected areas following the outage that resulted from a fault at the Gitaru Power Station.”

Tare added that the country is now back to normal supply.

Facing many hurdles

In addition to unplanned outages, the power utility has had to endure increased acts of vandalism and theft.

In May, Kenya Power explained in a statement that this new vice is taking a new shape, especially in Mombasa, where the suspects are going for magnesium oxide, a powdery substance contained in the transformer fuses, which has hallucinatory effects when inhaled.

This is a break from the tradition where vandals have been destroying transformers to steal transformer oil, copper windings and fuses.

Hezekiah Mwalwala, Kenya Power’s regional manager for Coast said: “We have recorded 20 incidents of transformer fuses vandalism in some parts of Mvita, Mishomoroni, Bombolulu, Changamwe and Nyali areas within Mombasa County. At times, this magnesium oxide is mixed with cocaine or tobacco to derive hallucinatory effects.”

In an earlier report, the utility said that between January and April this year, the power company has made a total of 174 arrests for acts of vandalism.

“Vandalism of electricity distribution equipment is among the leading causes of power outages, undermining the quality of power supply to customers in addition to reduced productivity by industries,” the power company explained.

Kenya Power has increased surveillance on vulnerable transformers and enhanced coordination with community policing authorities within the affected localities.