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KPLC resorts to transformer alarms

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 30 – The Kenya Power and Lightning Company (KPLC) says it will be investing Sh86 million to install intruder alarm systems to protect transformers in vandalism hotspots.

KPLC has already acquired 950 intruder alarm systems, which will be installed on transformers in selected locations around the country on a pilot basis.

Vandalism of KPLC’s transformers is reported to cost the power distributor an estimated Sh3 billion annually. About 100 KPLC transformers are lost every month as a result of vandalism and the vice is now spreading all over the country.

However, cases of vandalism are concentrated near the industrial town of Thika and Nairobi, the capital City, that provide a ready market. More cases are reported in Nyeri, Thika, Gatundu, Kiambu, Kiambaa, Kikuyu, Dagoretti market towards Karen, Kitengela and Machakos.

KPLC has already installed fifty-intruder alarm systems supplied by Orasoft Technologies Limited during testing period in April and will take another three months to install the 950 units starting December this year.

Speaking during a demonstration exercise at Ruaraka, Nairobi, KPLC Deputy Manager in charge of Operations and Maintenance, Haid Yusuf, said the project is one of the various technological strategies the company is using to address the challenge of vandalism.

“Approximately 14,000 customers are interrupted every month as result of vandalism related incidences around the country,” Mr Yusuf said.

A typical intruder alarm system unit has an alarm unit mounted on a transformer, which monitors and sends alerts to a control centre at the KPLC Head Offices.

The system has set parameters of conditional criteria that trigger a loud siren mounted on the transformer and, at the same time, make a distress call to the control centre when these conditions for a suspected act of vandalism are fully met.

The company has extensively carried a Mulika Mwizi anti-vandalism campaign investing heavily in public education as way of getting citizens to become partners in the war against vandalism.

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KPLC is using several other technological strategies to address the challenge of vandalism including the introduction of dry type transformers.

The company is also lobbying Government through the Attorney-General’s Office to have stiffer penalties imposed on vandals, to deter others from committing such a crime.

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