CALLS FOR SAFETY

Replace worn-out electricity poles, Kwale residents tell KPLC

They say most wooden electricity poles are in poor condition, risking the lives of dozens.

In Summary
  • Kombani, Tiwi, Ukunda, Kwale town and its environs are always the most hard hit.
  • Four months ago, two people from Kalui village in Kinango and Tingeti in Matuga were electrocuted after stepping on fallen live power cables.
Solar panel at Nyalani food security project in Kinango subcounty, Kwale county.
ENERGY: Solar panel at Nyalani food security project in Kinango subcounty, Kwale county.
Image: SHABAN OMAR

Kwale residents has called on the Kenya Power to conduct surveys and replace all the worn-out electricity poles in the region. 

This is to help stabilise the electricity supply and prevent danger as heavy rains are expected in the region. 

The residents have complained that most wooden electricity poles are in poor condition, risking the lives of those living in surrounding areas. 

Led by Binti Mwasahani, the residents said KPLC should monitor the status of the poles and change the decayed ones with immediate effect.

"Let them come and do the necessary because so many electricity lines are in pathetic conditions that are endangering our lives," she said.

The residents alleged that some electricity wires are dangling on tree branches while some poles are almost collapsing, especially in Godoni, Wayani, Golini, Mvindeni and along the Kinango-Samburu highway, among other places.

Mwasahani said the weak poles and wires are to be blamed for the poor electricity supply in the county.

She said the power normally goes off whenever there are slight rains and winds, living residents in the dark for days as business people incur losses.

Kombani, Tiwi, Ukunda, Kwale town and its environs are always the most hard hit.

Mwasahani said the repair is often taking too long in some of the areas because of inaccessibility.

She said the on and off power supply has translated to the loss of expensive electronic gadgets.

Kwale is among the counties experiencing frequent electricity outages, and has witnessed deaths due to negligence in handling emergencies.

According to a report documented by a lobby since 2018, more than six people have lost their lives and property worth millions destroyed because of regular power faults.

In 2020, a 34-year-old Mwaka Dziwe and her three-month-old son died on the spot after being electrocuted by a hanging live power cable at Boa village in Kombani.

Hundreds of residents, led by rights activists, responded by staging huge demonstrations, demanding those responsible sacked. 

The then KPLC company chairman Mahboub Maalim said necessary action shall be taken against the liable staff and promised improvement of services.

Four months ago, two people from Kalui village in Kinango and Tingeti in Matuga were electrocuted after stepping on fallen live power cables.

Recently, an unattended fallen powerline is reported to have killed several monkeys in the area of Diani beach.

Ali Hamisi said the company should be proactive and address the challenges on time to prevent further disasters.

Hamisi further said he narrowly escaped death at Godoni after he almost walked on hanging live wire.

He said with the ongoing rains, such cables and dilapidated poles pose a great risk to residents and wildlife.

"I would advise these emergencies to be given priority, especially when it comes to issues of electricity. The accidents can be catastrophic," he said.

Amina Charo, who operates a fish butchery in Kwale, said it is almost impossible to do business as power outages are common.

She said a day cannot last without power faults which have translated to huge losses.

"Sometimes I throw away a lot of fish because of no electricity," she said.

Last year, Energy Chief Administrative Secretary Zachary Ayieko said the government is making great strides in ending power outages not only in Kwale but the entire country.

He said the frequent power blackouts have been reduced by more than 50 per cent and steady progress is being made.

Ayieko spoke when he launched the Stand-alone Solar Home Systems and Clean Cooking Solutions for Households at Dr Babla playground in Msambweni, Kwale county.

He said appropriate measures are in place to repair the faults, including the replacement of fallen and decayed poles as well as enhance responses to emergencies to ensure constant power supply.

Ayieko said energy remains to be one of the key enablers of Kenya's Vision 2030 and the Big Four Agenda development plans.

He said, through the Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project, the government targets to reach 459, 821 households estimated to be 2.4 million people and another 55, 671 households will receive electricity through solar power.

 

(edited by Amol Awuor)