Countrywide power blackout disrupts operations

Several parts of the country suffered power outage on Tuesday following a fault at Gitaru power generation station on River Tana.

In a statement on Tuesday, Kenya Power said the blackout that lasted from about 11.30 am to 3pm was caused by a mishap at the hydro station.

Gitaru power station is the biggest in terms of installed capacity and can serve a fifth of the country’s capacity from its 225 MW peak power generation.

The fault, the power company said, affected other sources of electricity resulting into a national blackout.

Traders suffer losses resulting from additional costs of using standby generators running on fuel.

The disruptions have also seen the service industry that relies on the mains electricity grind to a halt.

Aging infrastructure and reliance on hydro-generated supplies has been blamed for the situation.

Bill on compensation by Kenya Power

A bill seeking to have Kenya Power compensate consumers for financial losses and physical injuries due to outages lasting more than three hours a day is yet to be signed to law.

Energy Bill 2015, if signed into law, will compel the power utility to part with millions of shillings in claims paid out for lengthy disruptions.

This will cushion manufacturers, commercial building owners, warehouses, farmers and other small businesses from losses.

Kenya Power will be expected to include the compensation as a waiver on bills preceding the months on which disruptions occur.

The compensation will also be used to offset future electricity bills while customers who suffer physical injuries will be offered payment determined by a court.

“A licensee shall be liable to compensate a consumer due to power outages or surges… that exceed a cumulative three hours within a 24-hour period,” says the Bill that was unanimously passed by the National Assembly in April 2016.

The provisions were contained in an amendment to the Energy Bill, 2015 moved by Mvita MP Abduswamad Nassir.