A monkey was behind the huge power blackout that affected various parts of the country on Tuesday, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has revealed.
According to KenGen, the rogue primate climbed onto the roof of the Gitaru power station and dropped onto a transformer, tripping it.
“This caused other machines at the power station to trip on overload resulting in a loss of more than 180MW from this plant which triggered a national power blackout,” said KenGen in a press statement.
The company said it had secured all its installations with an electric fence to keep off wild animals but did not explain how the monkey managed to access the area.
“We regret this isolated incident and the company is looking at ways of further enhancing security at all our power plants,” said the power generator, adding that the system had since been restored and power generating units were operating normally.
Gitaru is the country’s biggest hydro-electricity station, with a capacity of 225 megawatts.
Amazingly, the monkey is said to have survived and is now in the custody of the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Kenyans on social media reacted swiftly, poking fun at the revelations and wondering how a primate could cause such a huge outage that affected many businesses in the country.
“A single monkey caused a nationwide power blackout! I think we should rethink about the security of our vital installations,” remarked Luiz Mash on Facebook.
“It's real monkey business,” Kinyanjui Wa Ngugi commented, also on Facebook, while Prince Khedira, using the Twitter handle @khedirakhedira, wrote: “Respect for this monkey who got frustrated and decided to put off Kenya Power electricity main supply line. Genius!”
Ahmed Mohamed, @asmali77, added: “This monkey that switched off Kenya’s (electricity) power should be enrolled in one of our engineering schools for further studies”.
Gitaru, the largest hydropower station in East Africa and located on the Tana River, on the border between Embu and Machakos counties, accounts for 9.6 per cent of the country’s installed capacity of 2,333MW.
The station was also the source of a blackout in 2012 when a transformer at one of its turbines blew up.