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CS Chirchir proposes measures to counter frequent national blackouts

The latest blackout, the 5th this year, has raised concerns among the public about the recurring power outages

Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir

Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir held a press briefing on Monday, December 11, addressing the recent power blackout that affected various parts of the country.

Chirchir revealed that the blackout was caused by a sudden increase in power flow along the Juja-Lessos-Muhoroni link, leading to an overload at Olkaria 2 transformers and the Dandora-Juja transmission link, resulting in dropped powerlines and the subsequent blackout.

The recent blackout, the fifth this year, has raised concerns among the public about the recurring power outages and the measures being taken to address the issue.

Chirchir pointed out two main challenges affecting electricity production – insufficient water for power generation and transition constraints due to limited investments in network building.

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To alleviate these challenges, Chirchir announced plans for a new substation and a 90km line to relieve capacity on the Muhoroni-Kisumu line.

He emphasised the need for a new 33KV line between Narok and Bomet to prevent constant power outages.

The project aims to reduce overload on existing lines and prevent widespread blackouts.

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"We will build a new 33KV line between Narok and Bomet to prevent constant power outages. We will have a reduced overload line to prevent plunging the country into darkness," Chirchir stated during the briefing.

The new line, expected to take 20 months to complete, will be funded by the African Development Bank and Japan.

Chirchir also highlighted the lack of major electricity system upgrades in the country for the past six years.

The press briefing aimed to provide transparency on the causes of the blackout and the government's commitment to addressing the challenges in the power sector.

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The power outage on Sunday had a significant impact on various sectors, including disruptions at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and Eldoret Airport, where backup generators failed to start.

The government's proposed projects and upgrades aim to enhance the resilience and reliability of the national power grid, ensuring fewer disruptions in the future.

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