Power interruptions bleeding the economy

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Tuesday night saw a city-wide electricity interruption that Kenya Power and Lighting Company blamed on ‘low electricity generation from Seven Forks Dam’.

After a similar outage in December last year assurance were made that repairs that had been ongoing since last April would put paid to such interruptions.

Earlier interruptions have variously been placed at the feet of transformer vandals, lightning strikes and unseasonal rains. That really should be of little concern to rate-payers who are only interested in prompt, uninterrupted service at affordable cost.

It was a sad picture to see tourists sleeping on benches at Moi Airport, Mombasa, on Monday following a power blackout that disrupted their flight plans. Another such failure paralysed the airport’s operations last year even as Kenyans were trying to lure tourists back to this market.

Other examples abound of manufacturers taking issue with the electricity provider over frequent interruptions.

Also, many investment handbook lament about the high cost of doing business due to costly and unreliable power. Often there is panic in hospitals, businesses and schools when electricity supply is interrupted.

Costly and unreliable

What would it take to solve the problem of unscheduled blackouts once and for all? What is the use for lofty goals in Vision 2030 if none of the projects can be powered reliably? Is the problem to do with inadequate or obsolete equipment?

Kenya should explore alternative sources of power like nuclear stations and solar panels, considering sunshine is one resource we have in abundance. Either way, electricity interruptions should be a thing of the past.

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