The Wednesday evening widespread power outage that ran until later in the night plunging many parts of the country into darkness has sparked renewed uproar over the highly monoplised nature of power distribution in the country.
Majorly, the outage affected two major lines supplying parts of Nairobi, Rift Valley, Western Kenya and South Nyanza.
The Managing Director Bernard Ngugi’s led institution did not give elaborate explanation on what caused what they termed as ‘technical hitch’.
“We would like to apologise to our customers for the inconvenience caused and reassure them that our technical team is currently working to identify the root cause and restore power to the affected areas,” Kenya Power said in a statement.
It occurred at around 7pm but three hours later, around 9:30pm, the company issued another statement indicating that the issue had been resolved.
“We would like to inform our customers that we have restored power to the areas that were affected by an outage this evening, following a technical hitch that impacted two major lines supplying parts of Nairobi, Rift Valley, Western Kenya and South Nyanza. We would like to once again apologise to our customers for the inconvenience caused,” the statement reads.
Kenyans had taken to social media criticising Kenya Power over the power outage.
Currently, the Kenya Power and Lighting Company PLC (Kenya Power) has a monopoly on power sales given its ownership and operationalization of most of the electricity transmission and distribution system in the country.
As of June 2020, Kenya Power, the sole listed power distributor was selling electricity to over 7.5 million clients.
Pundits contend that a web of well-connected technical insider cartels working in collusion with external investor players have been frustrating full implementation of Energy Act 2019 that provides for the opening up of the sector.
Effectively, the well-choreographed managed process thwarts efforts by state-owned Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) from direct electricity sales to create competition and efficiency.
In March this year, Kengen expressed interest in targeting flower firms and large industries in the proposed Naivasha Industrial Park as first customers for direct electricity sales.
However, Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) is yet to act on this proposal.
Until now, KenGen has been restricted to electricity generation, alongside Independent Power Producers (IPPs).
The high cost of cost of production attributed to high cost of unreliable power supply has adversely affected key sectors including the President Uhuru Kenyatta’s main four delivery pillars on; manufacturing, food security, affordable housing and Universal Health Coverage alongside attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI’s).