Kirinyaga residents protest over five months blackout and give KPLC three days to restore the power

A village in Kirinyaga county that has been in power blackout for the last five months held a demonstration on Monday calling on Kenya Power company to restore power forthwith.

The villagers who held the demo near Kagio town have given the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) three days to restore power or they will take the protest to the company offices.

A resident of Kiunga village near Kagio town, Kirinyaga County, Sammy Mutugi, said the 500 affected homesteads have not had power since February.

Mutugi said as a result, electronic equipment such as refrigerators, radios, laptops, and televisions among others have been lying idle in their houses while their children have had difficulties doing their school work.

Residents alleged that Kenya Power removed their transformer without any explanation replacing it with a small one that has no capacity to supply electricity to all the nearby homes.

“We therefore want the company to replace this transformer with a new one that can serve all villagers,” he said.

The residents claim that their cries to KPLC have fallen on deaf ears.

However,  Kirinyaga County KPLC branch manager Ruto Kipkorir said his office is yet to receive the complaints adding the company will be doing a follow-up on the matter.

“We cannot put a small transformer. In any installation we do we have to look at the number of customers to be supplied and ensure that the transformer in place is adequate,” he said.

“But if that is the issue, we can always upgrade (the transformer). Five hundred people is not a small number and so when you talk of 500 people not having power, there must be a better reason.”

Criminals, they said, have taken advantage of the problem to perpetrate criminal activities such as burglary, stealing and mugging.

Another resident Lucy Wangui said her home was raided recently where thieves stole assorted items.

She said they have now resorted to buying paraffin, candles and petrol for energy and lighting.

Josphat Mwaniki said those suffering from diabetes and using insulin have to seek storage facilities of insulin in the nearby Kagio town.

Unused insulin should be stored in a refrigerator.

Kirinyaga residents protest over five months blackout and give KPLC three days to restore the power

“Traders have been closing their businesses early as they cannot operate in darkness. This problem has consequently affected many businesses in the area,” he said.

He called on the company to discontinue sending them electricity bills if they cannot restore power saying they still received their bills promptly.

Mutithi MCA Njinaro Njamumo who led the demonstration said the transformer was replaced in 2019 and that the current one is small and cannot serve the entire village.

“We have been trying to reach out to KPLC to request them to replace the transformer and restore power but no assistance is forthcoming,” he said.

He wondered why they had to replace it yet it was in good working condition.

Even without an electricity supply, Njamumo said, the company continues to send electricity bills, some of which are running to tens of thousands in arrears in some of the homesteads.

Other affected areas include Mla Jasho and Kianjogu villages, he said.

In three days, he said, they will organise a massive demonstration to the Kenya Power offices if the power will not have been reinstated.

Kirinyaga residents protest over five months blackout and give KPLC three days to restore the power

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