Thugs raid Ketraco substation leaving Kisii County in darkness

 

A Monday midnight raid at a Kenya Electricity Transmission Company-Ketraco power substation has resulted in a power blackout for the entire Kisii County and parts of Nyamira.

A statement by Managing Director Eng John Mativo said the invasion at the 132/33kV substation compromised the protection system.

"The attackers unsuccessfully attempted to switch off supply in the switch-yard. The dames were therefore primarily concentrated in the control building and cable ducts."

Eng Mativo said one guard was injured during the incident and is currently responding positively to treatment in the hospital.

According to one of the technicians, James Ochicho who was working on the night shift, six thugs stormed the Kegati substation located in Nyaribari Chache minutes past midnight.

He said the thugs tied him and forced him to switch off the main lines as they cut off cables.

For more than one and a half hours, the thugs moved from one point to the other after tying up all the security guards manning the facility.

“It is by God’s grace that we are alive. They were armed with crude weapons including machetes,” he said.

Kenya Power Regional Manager Eng Dan Obiero said the company has been losing close to Sh1.2 million on an hourly basis since the power went off.

Kenya Power handed over the substation to Ketraco more than one and a half years ago.

Under Kenya Power, armed police officers under the Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit were used to guard the substation.

It is not clear why Ketraco has not sought the services of the police to guard such a critical Government infrastructure.

Ketraco is the designated system operator in the power sub-sector under section 138 of the Energy Act 2019.

There has been a rise in demand for scrap copper metal in the Country. In February, Energy Principal Secretary Alex Wachira made a revelation that the Country exported billions worth of copper despite not being a copper-mining nation.

Some counties have already banned scrap metal businesses to curb the rising cases of transformer vandalism.

A week ago, Embu County outlawed the sale of scrap metal within its territory to address the increasing cases of vandalism.

Governor Cecily Mbarire said that the ban will persist until all dealers undergo a fresh vetting process and pledge not to purchase metal pieces stolen from private or public infrastructure.

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