- The ministry declined to disclose the amount of money required from the treasury to secure a contractor and equipment for the high-voltage transmission line, saying it could influence the bidding for the works.
- This increases the risk of a nationwide blackout or power rationing in the event of a temporary tower collapse, leading to financial losses due to business disruption.
- Power outages occur regularly in Kenya, in part due to an aging power grid, forcing many businesses in Nairobi and other major cities to run backup generators or install solar systems.
The Department of Energy has no money to hire a contractor to repair five pylons on a power line that collapsed in December and plunged the country into darkness.
The ministry declined to disclose the amount of money required from the treasury to secure a contractor and equipment for the high-voltage transmission line, saying it could influence the bidding for the works.
This increases the risk of a nationwide blackout or power rationing in the event of a temporary tower collapse, leading to financial losses due to business disruption.
Power outages occur regularly in Kenya, in part due to an aging power grid, forcing many businesses in Nairobi and other major cities to run backup generators or install solar systems.
In late December, the transmission line known as Loyaingalani-Suswa collapsed after damaging all five towers, cutting off part of the power supply and causing rationing in parts of the country while it was being repaired.
It cut power to the Lake Turkana Wind Power Station (LTWP) in Marsabit, which provides around 17% of Kenya’s total peak electricity demand.
The line was restored two weeks later and the country relied on temporary measures to evacuate power from the LTWP to the Suswa substation.
Gordon Kihalangwa, the principal energy secretary, told parliament that the department had made a request to the Treasury and expected funds to be made available in the second supplementary budget.
“The five towers collapsed in Longonot, and we restored the supply in two weeks. We are in the process of making contracts to have the towers restored. We have asked the Treasury for funding as part of Supplementary II” , did he declare.
He told the Public Investments Committee (PIC) that the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) would launch tenders for the restoration of the five main towers once the Treasury provides the funding.
Ketraco acting chief executive Antony Omukota said the company was evacuating power using temporary solutions.
“We have not started procurement for a permanent solution [towers] because we have no funds. We look forward to the funds being allocated in the supplementary budget,” he said.
Kenya has experienced a series of power outages in recent months following the collapse of high voltage power lines.
In May 2020, the country experienced a similar nationwide blackout after a section of a high-voltage line that carries electricity to Nairobi from the Olkaria geothermal power stations, about 75 km (45 miles) broke. ) from Nairobi.
In January, the country experienced another nationwide blackout after pylons supporting a high-voltage line from Nairobi to the Kiambere hydroelectric dam collapsed.
Police opened an investigation, leading to charges against three senior Kenya Power executives for alleged sabotage and negligence. It was the first time that individuals had been charged for a power outage.
Prosecutors accused the three men of failing to maintain the pylons that support the power lines, according to the indictment.
They were also accused of failing to take action after damage to the towers was reported to them by members of the public weeks before the blackout.
Suswa’s transmission lines and substation are owned and operated by Ketraco.
Ketraco spent 28.9 billion shillings to construct the double circuit transmission line, which is rated at 400 kV but is currently operating at 220 kV.
The utility company awarded the transmission line contract to Isolux for 16.4 billion shillings.
Isolux completed 30% of the work before the termination of its contract.
Nari, the successor contractor to Isolux, was paid 9.6 billion shillings while the local sub-contractors who carried out the civil works pocketed 1.67 billion shillings.