"We have challenges of quality transformers and have set up standards that we have now agreed we must follow," says Kenya Power's managing director Ken Tarus.

In dealing with the recent procurement of substandard transformers from local suppliers, Tarus said the company will be reviewing its suppliers and engage only with those that offer quality products.

According to the East African, in 2016 the power utility developed new specifications for equipment with the aim of increasing its durability and making it less attractive to vandals.

The rules state that transformers should contain aluminium windings as opposed to copper, which is attractive to vandals.

Suppliers are also required to provide a list of critical raw materials and their sources in order to ease traceability of parts and control the quality of the equipment.

In addition, suppliers are required to provide a warranty of six years and five years from the date of delivery and commissioning respectively.

This is designed to help reduce transformer failure rates and compel manufacturers to take responsibility for any manufacturing defects.

In the 2015/16 financial year, Kenya Power managed to crackdown on transformer vandalism, reducing the number of incidents from 228 to 133. Read more…

Before opening the procurement for transformers and prepaid meters to Kenyan firms, the company’s local input consisted mainly of concrete and wooden poles, cables and connectivity devices.

Poor quality transformers causing power outages

The East African highlighted that substandard products have been linked to the rise in power outages and maintenance costs.

In the 2016/17 financial year, Kenya Power managed to reduce the average number of outages per month by 28% to 19,588 from 27,274.

The power company also managed to increase system efficiency marginally to 81.1% from 80.6, media stated.

 

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