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Monkey business in Kenya causes nationwide blackout

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Africa Correspondent  Jun 08, 2016

Information is emerging that it was a monkey which was responsible for a 5-hour nationwide power outage in Kenya yesterday, which left businesses reeling from the added cost of running expensive generators without any recourse to recover such expenses.

The Gitaru power facility, supposedly secured by an electric fence, was the reported scene where a vervet monkey triggered the outage after jumping or falling on equipment, but escaped alive in the end.

Meanwhile, the outage then triggered a chain reaction across the country, resulting in a loss of some 180 MW of power and taking several hours to gradually restore electricity supply to the cities and towns of Kenya.

A recent amendment made by parliament to the Energy Bill 2015 makes Kenya Power liable for compensation for outages lasting more than 3 hours a day, but this has yet to be put to the test and may, according to a source close to the power company, result in a sharp rise in tariffs to cover the cost of insurance against such outages and subsequent claims.

This was the first such case where a monkey caused a nationwide power outage, although local outages have been common in the past when monkeys climbed on powerlines, getting electrocuted in the process.

To prevent such incidents, the Colobus Conservation began to install insulated powerlines along the main Diani beach road to protect, in particular, Colobus monkeys. In the past, the NGO has also installed rope ladders across the busy road to prevent car accidents which in the past claimed the lives of many monkeys.

Monkey business in Kenya causes nationwide blackout

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