Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir has been slapped with a 10-day ultimatum to provide a detailed report on the cause of the recent nationwide power blackout. The ultimatum was issued by the national assembly’s energy committee
Parliament’s directive comes a day after Chirchir appeared before the lawmakers as the legislators seek to unravel the events that led to the blackout, which occurred on Friday, August 25, shortly after 9 pm.
The Ministry of Energy has consistently attributed the blackout to an issue at the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project (LTWP), a claim that the LTWP management has refuted.
“Committee members gave the CS an ultimatum of 10 days to name the person responsible which they said will help avert such occurrences,” read a committee dispatch.
Parliament’s directive came shortly after the Cabinet Secretary announced three preventive measures to avoid a recurrence of such incidents. Chirchir outlined that the Ministry, in collaboration with KenGen, is actively investigating the possibility of replacing current hydro turbine runners with more advanced ones capable of a broader operating range.
The Ministry has also introduced a set of measures, including the advancement of small hydro projects and acting on research studies conducted by KenGen.
“The CS assured the Committee that his Ministry is continuously reviewing the operational environment and guiding power agencies to adhere to best practices and standards to monitor the grid, and ensure security for the grid and stability in power situation,” the committee’s report read in part.
However, the Cabinet Secretary pointed out that his ministry’s options are limited due to the existing Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) contracts, which are also under scrutiny by the committee.
“The impact of the moratorium on the signing of PPAs on the economy needs to be lifted in order to forestall a shortfall of generation capacity required to meet the growing demand and replace retiring power plants in the medium term,” he stated.
A report on the PPAs that have been blamed for the high electricity costs is yet to be published.