By Lillian Mutheu
Power energy is a daily necessity in life. Electricity is one of the most common types of energy that many Kenyans use. Many residents of Nairobi depend on electricity: from lighting households, lighting the streets to running businesses such as refrigeration, welding and many more. In Kenya, electricity is supplied by the Kenya Power and Lightening Company (KPLC). However, over the past few months, residents have faced electricity troubles in Nairobi.
Power black outs have become a common thing especially in areas around Embakasi. Residents of Tasia in Pipeline have made numerous complaints online about electricity shortage. “We have been experiencing power cuts of late. Black outs have been happening almost every week now, forcing us to live without electricity for two to three days. Its been happening everywhere in Mukuru kwa Njenga and other neighboring wards,” said Mary Mwangangi, a Nairobi resident.
Power shortages have been attributed to heavy rains experienced in Nairobi this season. Some residents claim that the poles ejected by the Kenya Power and Lightening Company used to supply power have been falling down. “When you take a walk around Mukuru, you will realize some KPLC poles previously ejected by the company (KPLC) have fallen down. We think that the company does not create a good foundation for the poles to stick firmly to the ground, therefore, when it rains heavily, floods come upon and with the excess water, soil erosion comes into play and eventually the poles get destabilized thus falling to the ground. We end up with black outs since KPLC usually takes a lot of time to respond and by the time they do repairs, two days of black outs are gone,” said Simeone Irungu.
“I have personally seen power transformers explode,” narrates Irene Isekha. “I tell you, when it explodes, you will think it’s an atomic bomb. I don’t understand why that happens but several power transformers have been exploding over the last six months. These power transformers are very vital in supplying electricity. Considering the high population in Pipeline estate, transformers serve a vital role in regulating electrical power and serving residents of Embakasi south, but what happens when they explode? If a single power transformer explodes, electricity automatically fails to get to destined points and many residents go for almost a week without power. It usually takes a long time for KPLC to install a new power transformer or repair the existing ones.”
These incidents of power loss, shortage and black outs have resulted into adverse effects and negatively impacting Nairobi residents. Yesterday, I received a notification in a certain Whatsapp group. “Just in from Mukuru, a middle-aged woman has been electrocuted on the makeshift bridge while crossing to work. She had an umbrella and with the high voltage cables overhead, it got attraction. The nearby Cana dispensary (Sinai) has transferred her to Nairobi Hospital,” read the notification. This shows the dangers that residents face in their daily lives due to poorly installed electricity poles and cables. According to some residents in Tasia, some poorly installed cables fell to the ground over a week ago and no staff from KPLC has responded. They pose a great risk to people and especially children who even go to an extend of playing with those cables. KPLC should take responsibility and be careful while installing power cables and poles. They should also swing fast into action whenever they are contacted to respond to power shortages in Nairobi.