Kenya facing power cuts

14 January 2022 | Economics

Kenya on Wednesday faced a second consecutive day of rolling power cuts after a damaged transmission line caused a nationwide outage in East Africa's most dynamic economy.

The country of nearly 50 million suffered a nearly day-long blackout Tuesday after four electricity pylons connecting Nairobi to a hydroelectric dam collapsed, state-run utility Kenya Power said.

By evening, Kenya Power had declared the problem resolved in most of the country but a second outage caused by another malfunctioning transmission line cut supply once again to many areas on Wednesday.

Kenya Power said Tuesday's collapse had triggered "glitches" in other supply units and only a small portion of the country remained without electricity.

"If you have such a major outage, you will have small issues here and there of the main system being unstable," Kenya Power spokesman Gregory Ngahu told AFP.

Kenya taps hydro, geothermal and wind to help generate energy but power costs remain high, in part because of a fuel surcharge for running diesel generators to cover peak demand times.

President Uhuru Kenyatta's government last week announced a 15 percent reduction in power tariffs to assist lower income households.

"Maybe it will be achieved by not supplying power 15 percent of the time," quipped a Twitter user following the blackouts.

In 2016 a monkey tripped a major power cut in Kenya after falling onto a transformer at a power station. The primate survived its brush with death but large parts the country were left without power for several hours. -AFP

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