Brace for power rationing as govt announces measures to curb blackouts

The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum has announced a raft of measures meant to curb the frequent national power outages experienced in the country, the most recent case being on Sunday night.

Speaking during a media briefing on Monday, Energy Cabinet Secretary (CS) Davis Chirchir said the normal transmission of power was caused by the high demand for electricity, which caused the western supply line to trip.

“The intervention that we are going to sit down with the engineers to give you some straight answers as we look you in the eye is load shedding, instead of overloading a line and causing the whole country to trip, we will remove some feeders and therefore reduce the electricity demand that flows through a line,” he said.

CS Chirchir attributed this to lack of investment in power generation and transmission is at the root of the challenge.

“We will them in a very structured way, we will communicate through you (media) and through our leadership to be able to understand which region we will work in. We will be very limited. It will be a very limited power rationing, where power is restrained. It will only happen during the peak hour,” CS said.

The CS revealed that he was also a victim of the blackout on his way into the country, when power went off at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport when he was being cleared, hence taking time before leaving the airport.

“I was at the airport when the belt stopped and we could not get our luggage. It is a challenge that as a country we are ashamed of and we need to address it.”

The CS said that the government has been connecting electricity to Kenyans for the last six years without investing in the generation of power and transmission.

“There I so much constraints with the transmission of electrons from wherever they are generated and sometimes networks trips when they are overloaded, ” he said.

CS Chrichir says that the outage that was reported on Sunday was caused by the overload between Muhoroni and Kisumu when there was a sudden demand against its normal supply, which is 80 Megawatts (MW).

“When the line went down it was carrying 120MW, and suddenly there was a demand of additional 20MW on that line. For a line to be carrying 149MW when it is designed for 80, it felt threatened and it dripped and cascaded down to the rest of the country,” he said.

When the incident occurred, there was a demand of 1,732MW and both the Geothermal and Hydro were performing well, same with the supply from Ethiopia.

According to the ministry, 60 percent of electricity had been restored in most part of the country by 1am, and only Mombasa was still on the restoration process.

 

Long-term solution

 

The CS said that they have started planning to bring a long-term solution to avoid frequent countrywide blackouts, which is necessitated by the growing number of customers.

This is building another line which will support the western line, going from Olkaria through Narok, Bomet and Awendo.

The installation of the new line has already received support from South Korea, and the African Development Bank, and the process has already started, and will be complete in about 20 months.

Also, a new sub-station is being constructed in Sondu, which will further improve the supply and reduce the constraints.

 

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