Residents demand the return of KenGen-Lamu as massive black out hits county


Lamu, KENYA: Residents of Lamu town want a return of the power generators-KenGen following weeks of massive blackouts.

Lamu county was officially connected to the national grid in early 2017.

However, residents expressed disappointment saying such long durations of power blackouts were unheard during the era of power generators.

Lamu town has been without consistent power supply for the last several weeks especially since the long rain period kicked in.

However, the town has registered a total blackout for the last 72 hours.

Residents who spoke on Tuesday accused KPLC of being insensitive in failing to notify them of the frequent power outages.

Lamu has also been without water as the generators that pump water to households and other premises also rely on electricity.

Now residents have to grapple with the challenge of lack of water and electricity at the same time.

Residents say, compared with the period before Lamu was connected to the national grid, frequent power cuts in the town were unheard of and even then, would last a maximum few hours.

They now want the government to consider a return of the KenGen power generators so as to avert the losses and mess created by KPLC by massive power cuts.

They also want KPLC to compensate them for all losses incurred due to the massive blackout.

“We can still not understand why KPLC keeps doing this. People are counting losses due to the power cuts that happen often without notice.KPLC should pay us but most of all, we want KenGen back. How can a whole town be in total blackout for over three days now.If KPLC if unable to do their work, let them leave it to power generators,”said Ali Shebwana, a trader.

A section of residents say the frequent power cuts in Lamu is one of the government’s strategy to marginalize the region as has been the norm.

“In other parts of Kenya, this is unheard of but because its Lamu, they can afford to keep us in darkness for all this while because they know we cant do anything. That’s the kind of marginalization we won’t take.” Said one of the traders.

Traders and business people have threatened to head to court to sue KPLC for damages incurred due to the blackout.

In response, Kenya Power manager in Lamu Bernad Munywere Kataka has blamed the situation on an al Shabaab terror attack last year that left two major electricity pylons blown up between Gamba and Nyongoro areas in Lamu.

Kataka said the national grid power supply had no issues until the pylons were destroyed but added that plans were on to have them replaced.

He has appealed for patience from all those affected.

“We have tried repairing the pylons that were blown up but they don’t last long.We are currently forced to divert some power from Kakuyuni in Malindi but in most cases the load is too heavy and that’s why people will report abrupt power outages.We are doing something to rectify the situation,”said Kataka.

Kenya Power through a Press release sent on Tuesday to newsrooms, has also apologized for the blackout saying their team is doing it’s best to resolve the situation.

“This morning a fault developed on the 32kV line supplying power to Lamu from Kakuyuni leading to an outage.
Our teams are currently working to establish the cause of the fault and address it in order to restore supply.
We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this incident.” Read the short statement.