No more ‘monkey’ business, CS Keter says of nationwide blackouts

August 9, 2016
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Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter on a field visit to the largest substation in the country: Suswa/MOSES MUOKI
Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter on a field visit to the largest substation in the country: Suswa/MOSES MUOKI

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 9 – “The monkey did it”… was the explanation given the last time there was a national power outage.

The last time before Saturday, that is.

And on Tuesday the Ministry of Energy and its affiliates went to great lengths not just to explain Saturday’s nationwide outage but the steps being taken to avoid a repeat performance.

The outage – Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said on a field visit to the largest substation in the country: Suswa – was caused by a short circuit on the lines that transport geothermal power generated at Olkaria through Suswa to Nairobi; specifically on the stretch leading up to the Dandora substation.

As things stand, there is no back-up to the said line but by November, Keter said, work on a second line would be complete.

Work on the second alternative line, he said, began in 2012 but was greatly delayed in Kajiado where the community was unhappy with the wayleave compensation they were offered.

“They didn’t understand why they were receiving less than those whose land the Standard Gauge Railway cut through.”

They were however, it was explained, being compensated for loss of use and the government wasn’t necessarily acquiring their land.

A matter, he said, that had now been resolved albeit at an additional cost of Sh200 million in lost time (over 3 years) and hence his confidence that works the line would be complete come November, “We’ve instructed the contractor to deploy additional manpower.”

Another line, this time transmitting geothermal generated power to Mombasa, he said, would also be complete by year’s end.

The line is expected to significantly bring down the cost of power in the coastal city which currently heavily relies on diesel powered generators.

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