Kenya Power Cuts to Hit : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Monday, 29 May, 2000, 00:47 GMT 01:47 UK

Power cuts to hit Kenyan industry

Both domestic and industrial users will suffer By Louise Tunbridge in Nairobi

Businessmen in Kenya are warning that industry in the country will suffer drastically from a stringent schedule of power cuts due to start on Monday.

The government says power rationing is the only option as the reservoirs providing the hydro-electric power on wich Kenya relies are almost dry due to prolonged drought.

The power cuts will affect industrial and domestic consumers across the country.

Electricity in residential areas will be cut every day from dawn to dusk.

The supply to industrial areas will be shut down throughout each night in an emergency rationing programme forecast to last six months.

The government says the level of water in the main power generating reservoirs is at its lowest ever and the country is experiencing an energy shortfall of 35%.

Unemployment warning

Householders may dread the inconvenience the cuts will cause, but for industry the consequences may be nothing short of disastrous.

Manufacturers warn of job losses and the possibility of factory closures. The Kenyan economy is already in deep recession and the extra cost of running generators and the loss of production time may bring it to its knees.

Chris Kirubi, the Chairman of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, accused the government of taking the crisis too casually.

He said it had been foolish to rely so heavily on hydroelectric power in a region prone to drought and that the government must have assumed it had a contract with God.

The government says it is looking into ways of importing power and generating it through other means.

Kenya's power sector has been damaged by years of corruption and mismanagement. Kenyans say they can understand the inclemency of the weather, but they cannot forgive the government's blatant neglect of its duty to plan for such contingencies.

-- Rachel Gibson (, May 29, 2000

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