While power blackouts are a common thing in Kenya, it is not common for the blackout to be nationwide, and it is even rare for it to be caused by a marauding monkey.
Yes, that’s right! The Tuesday nationwide power blackout in Kenya that began at 11:29 AM was the work of a cheeky monkey with too much curiosity for its own good. I guess monkeys have never heard of curiosity killed the cat because they are wild and rogue.
KenGen, the largest electricity power producer in Kenya, said in a statement that a monkey fell on a transformer in one of its power production plants; the Gitaru hydroelectric power station. This resulted in the transformer tripping and the loss of 180 megawatts of energy followed by a nationwide power blackout across the country.
In their Facebook Page, KenGen explains: “At 1129 hours this morning, a monkey climbed on the roof of Gitaru Power Station and dropped onto a transformer tripping it. This caused other machines at the power station to trip on overload resulting in a loss of more than 180MW from this plant which triggered a national power blackout.”
The company goes further to explain that swift action were taken to restore power (power that came back four hours later), but businesses bore the brunt of the blackout. Most businesses (due to the regular power outages – monkey business notwithstanding) have installed backup generators that start whenever there is a power blackout. The cost of running these generators are very high and ramp ups the businesses’ cost of operation; which many push that cost to the end consumers in the long-term.
However, the KenGen gave some reassurance, well as far as the cheeky monkey business and other animals are concerned, “KenGen power installations are secured by electric fencing which keeps away marauding wild animals. We regret this isolated incident and the company is looking at ways of further enhancing security at all our power plants.”