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Senate probe Energy CS Chirchir over national power outage
01/09/2023 22:49 in Politics News

David Chirchir, the cabinet secretary for energy, has been given a 12-day deadline to identify the people and organizations responsible for the countrywide power outage on August 26, 2023.


In order for his ministry to replace retiring power plants in the nation that could result in power outages, CS Chirchir suggested waiving the moratorium on signing new Power Purchase Agreements after being questioned by the National Assembly Committee on Energy about the source of the widespread blackout.


To determine the cause of the 19-hour power outage, the CS headed a committee that included the heads of Kenya Power, KETRACO, and EPRA.

"A system disturbance around 2145 hours caused the interconnected grid to lose 270MW of generation. According to him, the loss caused system instability and generator synchronization to fail, which caused the system to crash.


"Normally, we have a link with Uganda that is interconnected to the national power grid, but when the outage happened, the link was not there," Kenya Power MD Joseph Siror continued.


The National Assembly committee wanted information about the people and government organizations accountable for the widespread outage.


The committee's chair, Vincent Musyoka, said, "That person can only be Kenya Power, KETRACO, or EPRA. We want to identify the offenders and we shall find out why.


In 12 days, CS Chirchir made a promise to the parliamentary energy watchdog that he would identify the people and organizations responsible for the blackout.


Give us a couple of days so the engineers can verify that it was this signal from this plant that prompted the switch off due to an impending threat, the CS stated.


Legislators claimed that the outage might have been caused by internal sabotage carried out by disgruntled employees, but Energy Principal Secretary Alex Wachira refuted those claims.


"We actually found engineers who came from home in home clothes at the national grid, and that tells you that they are not demoralized," PS Wachira said.


"We have retired three plants, Kipevu and Muhoroni," Chirchir continued. To avoid a repeat of the incident, we need a backup in the interim.


The national blackout caused losses for merchants, and the parliamentary energy committee demanded reimbursement.


"All of the fish in the chilly chamber died. Who will provide these people with compensation after they spend a lot of tax dollars? MP Julius Mawathe for Embakasi South posed.


Since January 2022, there have been a total of five statewide power outages as the Ministry of Energy works to ensure that power generation is enough by putting the required mitigating mechanisms in place.


“We as a regulator have written to the relevant power providers demanding a detailed explanation of what caused the incident,” EPRA MD Daniel Kiptoo said.

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