Businesses suffer huge losses over major power outage

Four Kiambere -Embakasi highway voltage transmission powerlines that fell near a railway line and Mukuru Kwa Reuben neighbourhood in Imara Daima affecting power supply in some parts of the country. [David Gichuru, Standard]

The country was yesterday plunged into a power blackout which lasted about five hours leading to huge losses as businesses were disrupted.

The national power utility company Kenya Power said the outage resulted from a collapsed tower on the Kiambere-Embakasi high voltage transmission power line at around 10am.

“Our engineers are working to ensure electricity supply as the repairs are being undertaken,” read the unsigned statement to the public.

Among the regions that reported blackout was the capital city Nairobi, West Kenya, Mt Kenya, North Rift, South Nyanza and Central Rift.

Many residential and businesses that were plunged into darkness reported heavy losses.

A Mombasa-based glass manufacturer estimated that it had lost over Sh4 million following the power outage at the port city.

Milly Group of Companies Vice Chairman Rashid Mohamed said 50,000 tones of melted raw material for making glass was destroyed after power went off.

James Kitavi the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO, said productivity of many factories was grossly affected.

He said although yesterday's outage was an accident, the power company should guarantee investors reliable power supply to enable them to plan their productions.

A fish vendor at Majengo area, Janet Adhiambo, said the outage caused panic as they had received a huge consignment of fresh supplies from Kisumu.

Veronicah Wanjiru who runs a cybercafe in downtown Nyeri, said she lost a lot of business as clients who had scheduled appointments had to cancel.

Other businesses that reported losses were barbershops and hair salons 

Charles Wangondu, who operates a wielding shop said he had to ask his wrkers to take the day off to cut on labour costs since there was hardly any work they could put in.

In Nakuru County, bigger businesses were also not spared the losses as many resorted to expensive diesel-powered generators.

Cleanshelf Supermarket on Kenyatta Avenue branch assistant manager Peter Mukiri said they incurred double cost on power during the period.

The supermarket counts itself lucky that it had a backup power generator though this came with high fuel costs.

In the North Rift region, Willy Kenei, the KNCCI Chairman, Uasin Gishu branch said the outage caused a lot of anxiety and major disruptions.

“The entire Eldoret town was affected, and most businesses were unable to print, produce receipts or use computers,” said Kenei.

In Trans Nzoia, Gertrude Bonyo, who sell chips at Maila Saba trading centre, reported work but was unable to do any work. 

"I have been idle for almost all day. This is such a huge loss," lamented Bonyo.

In Homa Bay town, traders were also counting their losses.

John Onyango, a posho mill operator said he suffered losses due to lack of power.

Businesses came to a standstill in Migori County after the power blackout.

Mary Boke who is a milk vendor noted that most of her milk went bad after her refrigerator went off.