Poweroutages are not strange in Kenya, an African nation which is locatedon the horn of Africa. The country has a population of over 40million residents and according to a report by the World Bank only 23% of Kenyan households have access to electricity [ CITATION APT16 l 1033 ].However, on Tuesday morning the nation woke up to a massive poweroutage that lasted for four hours after a monkey tripped on atransformer. This incident caused one of the largest power outages inthe country as the country’s largest hydroelectric power generatingpower station came to a halt. LastTuesday, Gitaru power station located at the heart of the nation hada power outage that lasted for hours bringing businesses that lack abackup system to a screeching halt. In this essay, the author willdescribe the outage, the duration of the outage, research on theGitaru power station and determine the impact of the outage.
Kenyancitizens recently experienced a historic power outage this week asclose to 5 million businesses and households experienced a poweroutage that lasted for hours. The power outage was accidental as itis believed to have been triggered by a vervet monkey. According toKenGen, Kenya Electricity Generation Company, the body responsiblefor generating over 80% of the country’s electricity the monkeysurvived the ordeal and was handed to Kenya Wildlife Services. Themonkey is said to have fallen on one of the transformers and trippedit causing an overload from the other transformers and hence causinga power outage. This incident caused a loss of 180 MW that isgenerated from the power station which serves over 10% of thecountry’s population hence explaining the nationwide blackoutexperienced on Tuesday morning [ CITATION Gua16 l 1033 ].Although most news sources describe the outage as lasting for onlyfour hours, most Kenyan households spent more than 24 hours in thedark.
TheGitaru hydroelectric power station is one the recent electricgenerating power plants setup in the country. According to KenGen,the hydroelectric power station is the largest in East Africa as itgenerates over 225 MW from the three units installed at the station.In addition, the plant is crucial to the nation as it supplies atenth of the country’s electricity on the national grid [ CITATION Ken16 l 1033 ].The 180 MW power lossthat lasted for almost one day meant that the facility lost 80% ofthe power generated on that day. Therefore, the 180 MW loss of powerdue to a power outage can be estimated to be 0.22% of the annualpower generated by the plant. This would translate to over $ 1.08Million lost as result of the outage. The assumption is that the costof a kilowatt of electricity generated costs $6. By utilizing theinformation from the Gitaru hydroelectric power plant, it could beestimated that an unplanned 7 day outage might cost the facility over1,575 MW of electricity. This would mean that kenGen would write offlosses amounting to almost $ 9.5 Million in just over a week. This isonly the losses caused by the power outage not to mention other coststhat would be affected as a result of the power outage. As a result,the Kenyan government is seeking to reduce its reliance onhydro-electric power plants as it is investing in renewable energysources.
AP, T., & Cook, L. (2016, June 11). Monkey causes nationwide blackout in Kenya. Retrieved June 8, 2016, from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/08/africa/kenya-monkey-power-outage-trnd/index.html
Guarino, B. (2016, June 8). Monkey stumbles into hydroelectric power plant and triggers 4-hour blackout across Kenya. Retrieved June 11, 2016, from The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/06/08/monkey-stumbles-into-hydroelectric-power-plant-and-triggers-4-hour-blackout-across-kenya/
KenGen. (2016, June 11). Hydro Power Stations. Retrieved June 11, 2016, from KenGen: http://www.kengen.co.ke/?q=content/hydro-power-stations