Many parts of the country were plunged into darkness on Tuesday following a power-generation hitch at the country’s biggest hydro-electricity station.
Kenya Power said the Gitaru hydro station, with a capacity of 225 megawatts (MW), suffered a technical problem that shut down electricity generation.
“At 11.30am, a loss of generation at [the] Gitaru hydro station resulted into a major power outage that affected other sources of electricity,” Kenya Power said in a statement. “Efforts to restore normal supply are ongoing.”
Previous blackouts have forced businesses to install standby generators that they switch on when outages occur, raising their operation costs.
The station was also the source of an outage in 2012 when a transformer at one of its turbines blew up.
Gitaru, the largest hydropower station in East Africa, is located on the Tana River, on the border between Embu and Machakos counties, and accounts for 9.6 per cent of the country’s installed capacity of 2,333 MW.
LARGEST HYDRO STATIONThe station, owned and operated by power producer KenGen, is part of the Seven Forks hydro stations on Tana River.
Others are Masinga power station (40 MW), Kamburu (94 MW), Kindaruma (72 MW) and Kiambere (168 MW).
Kenya relies on a mix of geothermal energy, hydropower, wind and thermal energy.
Hydropower accounts for the second-largest share (35.1 per cent) of Kenya's total power capacity. Expensive thermal power ranks first at 35.7 per cent, while geothermal energy is third at 26.8 per cent.