Monkey menace
A monkey fell onto a transformer at the Gitaru Power Station in Kenya causing a nationwide blackout for about four hours - Representational imageReuters

Businesses in Kenya were the worst hit by a nationwide blackout that lasted for about four hours on Tuesday (7 June) after a monkey accidentally fell on a transformer at the Gitaru Power Station, the country's biggest. Electricity company KenGen said the incident resulted in the loss of more than 180MW power from the plant. The monkey survived the fall.

KenGen said in a statement that it has restored the supply and all units were functioning well. "At 1129 hours this morning, a monkey climbed on the roof of Gitaru Power Station and dropped onto the transformer tripping it. This caused other machines at the power station to trip on overload resulting in a loss of more than 180MW form this plant, which triggered a national power blackout," the statement said.

KenGen regretted the one-off incident stating that all its power installations are secured by electric fencing which keeps away "marauding wild animals". It added that it will further look to enhance the security measures to avoid recurrence of such incidents.

The outage brought many businesses to a grinding halt. Businesses in the country are already facing high operational costs as frequent power cuts have forced them to depend on standby generators, the Business Daily reported. The outage caused a further dent on their operations.

The Gitaru power station accounts for 9.6% of the country's installed 2,333 MW. It is the largest hydropower station in East Africa located at the border of Embu and Machakos counties.