A nationwide power blackout hit Kenya on Sunday evening.
This paralyzed major operations especially airports which coincidentally did not have working standby generators.
Sunday’s outage began around 8 pm and was the third national power supply failure within the last three months.
Among the key establishments whose services were paralysed is the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Eldoret Airport among others where the power generators failed to pick up yet again.
Kenya Power attributed the blackout to so-called system disturbance which they claimed was being addressed by technicians.
“We have lost electricity supply to various parts of the country due to a suspected fault affecting the power system.”
“We are working to restore normalcy within the shortest time possible. An update on the restoration progress will be issued in due course. We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience caused,” said a statement from the agency.
Some parts of the country reported the power had come back two hours later.
During a similar blackout on November 11, it took over 12 hours to restore power in most parts of the country.
Another one had happened on August 25 affecting almost the entire country.
The longest outage in August in Kenyans’ memory remained a mystery as the government-owned power company blamed a failure at Africa’s largest wind farm, which laid the responsibility on the power grid instead.
Some of Kenya’s more than 50 million people, including in the capital, Nairobi, saw power return almost 24 hours after the massive outage occurred.
It was an embarrassment to the East African economic hub that has sought to promote itself as a tech center on the continent but remains challenged by alleged mismanagement and poor infrastructure.
Hundreds of people were stranded in darkness for hours at Kenya’s main international airport in Nairobi, leading to a rare public apology from a government minister in a country where tourism is a key part of the economy.
“This situation WILL NOT happen again,” transport minister, Kipchumba Murkomen, said.
The head of the Kenya Airports Authority was fired after a generator serving the main international terminal had failed to start.
Kenya Power offered the first detailed explanation of the outage, blaming it on a loss of power generation from the Lake Turkana Wind Power plant, Africa’s largest wind farm, causing an imbalance that “tripped all other main generation units and stations, leading to a total outage on the grid.”
But Lake Turkana Wind Power then in a statement denied it was to blame. Instead, it said it had been forced to go offline by an “overvoltage situation in the national grid system which, to avoid extreme damage, causes the wind power plant to automatically switch off.” The plant had been producing nearly 15% of the national output at the time.
Such an interruption should be immediately compensated by other power generators in the system, the company said, but the continuing outages in the national grid were preventing the wind plant from being brought back online.
Kenya Power said it couldn’t even turn to importing power from neighboring Uganda, a relatively fast option that for some reason had been unavailable.
Kenya gets almost all its electricity from renewable sources.Email your news TIPS to Editor@kahawatungu.com or WhatsApp +254707482874