Coast blackout proves costly for traders, hoteliers in Mombasa

For hours, businesses had to rely on expensive diesel generators before power was restored later in the day

Sunday March 20 2016

Workers connect high voltage power lines at Voi in Taita Taveta County on June 3, 2013. A major power outage in Coast region adversely affected businesses and institutions who were forced to rely on diesel generators or close shop. PHOTO | GIDEON MAUNDU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Workers connect high voltage power lines at Voi in Taita Taveta County on June 3, 2013. A major power outage in Coast region adversely affected businesses and institutions who were forced to rely on diesel generators or close shop. PHOTO | GIDEON MAUNDU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By OTIATO GUGUYU
More by this Author
By MWAKERA MWAJEFA
More by this Author

Residents and the business community in the coast region were yesterday counting damages following a major blackout that began on Friday night.

Sunday Nation survey within Mombasa city centre indicated that most of the shops and small-scale businesses had closed after running out of diesel to run their generators.

“This is unforeseen expenditure that has depleted our pockets and the only way out is to close down and go home” said a shopkeeper.

Kenya Ports Authority could not operate their ship-to-shore gantry cranes which are power-operated.

But KPA acting operation manager Evelyn Chibule said they were only partially affected because they only had  two ships.

“The two ships were at their finish line of loading with one only remaining with six containers,” she on phone.

But it was business as usual for operators at the yard who use generator-powered cranes.

Hotels were the worst hit with owners having to rely on generators to run all their operations the whole day.

The Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers executive officer Sam Ikwaye said that their members had incurred huge losses.

“Right now, our members catering for with these unexpected expenses which they had not budgeted for,” he said on phone.

With the unusual hot and damp weather, Mr Ikwaye said hoteliers were forced to run their fans to keep their guests cool and comfortable.

“We intend to seek compensation because the losses being reported are massive for the fragile industry,” he said adding that the government should cushion the industry players during such incidents.

Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu, Kwale counties were affected  following a technical hitch at Kiambere power station.

Kenya Power said the hitch affected a high voltage transmission line linking Nairobi and Coast regions.

“Our engineers are on site working to repair the fault in order to restore supply,” Kenya Power said in a statement early Saturday.

Earlier this year, Nairobi, Coast and Central regions suffered major power outage that lasted several hours.

advertisement