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Kenya suffered a country-wide blackout on Sunday evening, which lasted several hours. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU
Kenya suffered a country-wide blackout on Sunday evening, which lasted several hours. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU

Nairobi — Kenya will consider load-shedding to contain demand surges that have been blamed for frequent national blackouts in 2023, its energy minister said on Monday.

The East African nation suffered a countrywide blackout on Sunday evening, which lasted several hours, angering many people because it is the latest in at least four that have hit in 2023 so far.

Davis Chirchir, the energy minister, blamed an overload on a transmission line in western Kenya for the latest outage, and pledged some short-term actions to remedy the situation.

“We will be scheduling some minimal load-shedding,” he told a news conference, referring to particular lines such as the one that caused Sunday's blackout.

The line, which is designed to carry 80MW of electricity, was carrying 149MW when it tripped and caused the entire grid to go out, Chirchir said.

“The gist of it is a lack of investment in the network for a long time,” the minister said, citing increased connections of households to electricity and the establishment of new industries that require power, which were not matched by grid upgrades.

The government will build a new transmission line in the west of the country, Chirchir said, to increase the grid’s capacity and prevent the system from being tripped up by system overloads.

The new line will be financed by cash from South Korea and the African Development Bank, the minister said, without giving a figure. The government is also investing in electricity generation to boost reserves, he said.

Sunday’s blackout frustrated many Kenyans, who expressed their anger on online platforms including Facebook.

The blackout also plunged two terminals at the main airport in Nairobi into darkness after the standby generators failed to kick in automatically.

Reuters

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