Matiangi issues 30-day evection notice for power lines encroachers

Matiangi issues 30-day evection notice for power lines encroachers

Energy sector parastatals and security teams will conduct joint public engagements and operations to evict power lines encroachers in a bid to clear electricity wayleaves within 30 days.

The directive follows a nationwide blackout that hit the country on January 11, after towers supporting a high-voltage power line linking Nairobi to the Kiambere hydroelectric dam collapsed.

This was the third countrywide power blackout in four years, which resulted in financial losses running into millions of shillings as businesses were disrupted.

Speaking at Kenya School of Government in Nairobi on January 27, 2022 during a security meeting on the energy sector, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i said the clearances that will be coordinated by country commissioners and grassroots-based National government administrators will be done humanely and in consultation with affected individuals.

“We must work together to be a step or two ahead of these criminals. This is not about the Ministry of Interior or that of Energy but safety of our people. Working hand in hand will ensure we deliver secure transmission and that our people have access to safe energy,” said Dr. Matiang’i.

Matiang’i said the Government was keen to ensure nationwide outages blamed on sabotage and vandalism that was witnessed early this month does not recur.

The CS revealed that the recent nationwide darkness was as a result of vandalism which tempered critical parts of the installations.

He further disclosed of a plot to vandalize more pylons in Naivasha that could have resulted in weeks of blackout was thwarted by security intelligence.

On taming the scrap metal dealings in the country in which its exports remain illegal until proper guidelines are put in place to regulate the sector the state has tasked the administrators to coordinate the protection of critical energy sector installations from vandals and saboteurs within their jurisdictions.

The CS  stated that the scrap metal dealers will be required to develop a database of all scrap metal dealers in their counties and verify the registration and compliance status of the businesses.

“We want to put an order in this madness. We will do so with a measure of ruthlessness,” He added.

Under the new arrangement, county commissioners working with area commanders of Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit (CIPU), energy sector managers will be required to map out energy installations in their jurisdictions and file bi-monthly reports on their security status.

On her part the Energy CS Monicah Juma  said repairing the latest vandalism was costly with the Government spending at least Kshs. 246 million in material and labour while the cost of lost business and damages is estimated to run into billions of shillings.

“The effects on the economy have been colossal. If the Naivasha challenge had not been averted, we would have seen our country plunge to darkness for 3 to 4 weeks,” Juma said.

The meeting was also attended by Energy Principal Secretary Gordon Kihalangwa, Inspector General of Police, Hillary Mutyambai and the chairpersons and managing directors of Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) and Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO)

Others were regional and county commissioners, county police commanders, county and senior energy sector managers.

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