Millions left in the dark as power outages hit Kenya cities and airport

AFP , Saturday 26 Aug 2023

Several regions of Kenya were still without electricity Saturday in outages that also left Nairobi international airport in darkness for several hours.

Kenya blackout
Aerial view of Nairobi in total blackout for the second day on August 26, 2023, several businesses affected by national power blackout. Photo courtesy Saturday Standard


Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) reported there had been "a system disturbance leading to a loss of bulk power supply to various parts of the country" starting Friday night.

Apart from the capital, with a population of five million, the main cities affected in the East African nation included Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru and Eldoret.

By midday on Saturday, KPLC said power had been restored to "most" of the regions, but several areas of the capital and Mombasa, the second-largest city, were reportedly still without electricity.

At Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta airport, one of Africa's busiest hubs, the Kenya Airport Authority said a generator serving the main terminals had failed to restart after the outage.

The airport was plunged into darkness for about two hours on Friday evening and services including immigration and baggage checks were stopped.

KPLC said the airport supply had returned at 3:00 am (0000 GMT).

In a press conference Saturday, Transport Minister Kimpchumba Murkomen said there was no risk to flights during the outage.

"For the avoidance of doubt, the incident though regrettable did not pose any danger to our incoming and outgoing flights and passengers considering that the backup generator lighting the runway and control tower was seamlessly deployed when the blackout occurred and at no time did we have an iota of darkness on the runway and the tower," he said.

"It will not happen again."

He said the managing director of Kenya Airports Authority and the airport manager of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport had been removed from their posts, and two generators had been replaced.

Earlier Murkomen said on X, formerly Twitter, that there was "no excuse worth reporting and there is no reason why our airport is in darkness."

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