Energy CS Chirchir given 12 days to reveal what caused national power outage
Energy Cabinet Secretary David Chirchir has been given a 12-day ultimatum to reveal individuals and institutions culpable in the national power outage on August 26, 2023.
CS Chirchir, who was grilled by the National Assembly Committee on Energy over the cause of the countrywide blackout, recommended lifting the ban on the signing of new Power Purchase Agreements, to enable his ministry to replace retiring power plants in the country that could cause power outages.
The CS led a team that included all power sector bosses from Kenya Power, KETRACO and EPRA, in an attempt to clarify what caused the 19-hour power outage.
“At 2145 hours, a system disturbance occurred that led to a loss of 270MW generation from the interconnected grid. The loss led to system instability and loss of synchronism between generators occasioning system collapse,” he said.
Kenya Power MD Joseph Siror added: “Normally, we have a link with Uganda which is interconnected to the national power grid, unfortunately when the outage happened, the link was not there.”
The National Assembly committee demanded the identity of persons and State agencies responsible for the countrywide outage.
“That person can only be Kenya Power, KETRACO, or EPRA..we want to know the culprits and we shall get to the bottom of that,” stated committee Chair Vincent Musyoka.
CS Chirchir promised the Parliamentary energy watchdog that he would reveal the identities of persons and entities behind the blackout in 12 days.
“Give us some days for the engineers to confirm that it was this signal from this plant that led to the switch off because of an imminent danger,” the CS said.
Energy Principal Secretary Alex Wachira denied assertions by the legislators that the outage could have been a result of internal sabotage caused by demoralized staff.
“We actually found engineers who came from home in home clothes at the national grid, and that tells you that they are not demoralized,” said PS Wachira.
Chirchir added: “We have retired three plants, Kipevu, Muhoroni. We need a backup in the meantime to prevent a similar occurrence.”
The Parliamentary energy committee demanded compensation for traders who experienced losses as a result of the nationwide blackout.
“The fish in the cold room all went out. Who is going to compensate these people who pay a lot of taxpayers' money?” Embakasi South MP Julius Mawathe posed.
The country has experienced a total of five nationwide power outages since January 2022, as the Ministry of Energy moves to ensure that the generation of power is sufficient by implementing the necessary mitigation measures.
“We as a regulator have written to the relevant power providers demanding a detailed explanation of what caused the incident,” EPRA MD Daniel Kiptoo said.
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