Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) has revealed that vandalism and land compensation issues have delayed the completion of the Mombasa-Nairobi transmission line and the Suswa-Isinya line by a year.
KETRACO’s Managing Director, Fernandez Barasa, in a press release, noted that the Mombasa-Nairobi Transmission Line Project has in the recent past suffered debilitating vandalism involving theft of conductors, steel members, insulators for overhead lines, bound coaxial, single core cables, as well as link boxes of copper for underground cables.
The continued theft is affecting the completion of the project which involves the construction of 29km of overhead transmission line from Rabai to Mariakani Substation and about 163km of overhead transmission line from Mariakani to the Tsavo River, said Barasa.
The construction of 52km of 220kV double circuit overhead transmission line from Embakasi to Isinya Substation and 230km of 400kV double circuit overhead transmission line from Isinya to the Tsavo River has also been affected by vandalism.
Barasa said the destruction which has heightened in recent months has affected the completion dates of the project and delayed the dream of achieving cheaper and more reliable electricity for Kenya.
We consider these acts as economic sabotage because they are costing the country tens of millions in materials but maybe hundreds of millions of shillings in lost benefits from the projects, he noted.
Last week, six suspects were arraigned in a Kajiado court charged with possession of vandalized tower members stolen from the Mombasa-Nairobi Transmission Line Project in Mashuru, Kajiado East.
The stolen materials, valued at Sh. 4.5million, were either whole or converted to ox-carts, beds, door frames and fencing posts and were found in their homes and in welding workshops.
The six were arrested in a door to door operation led by KETRACO and the County Security Team.
The MD further explained that when any part of the project materials is vandalized, the said part will usually need to be manufactured overseas because most of the electrical parts are not available locally.
Barasa called on members of the public to be vigilant and report any individuals involved in the crime and illegal scrap metal trade to the police for immediate action.
KETRACO has embarked on a sensitisation campaign to inform and educate the public on the effects and danger of vandalism of project materials in a bid to stop the theft cases.
Source: Kenya News Agency