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Transformer vandalism causes darkness in Murang’a villages

Increased vandalism of transformers in parts of Kigumo Sub County of Murang’a have left several villages in darkness for months.

Residents, especially from areas in Kahumbu ward, have decried being without electricity for months.

The residents complained that power outages have also affected service delivery in some local public facilities, including health centres, saying they are forced to seek medical care from hospitals located in neighbouring subcounties.

The locals who spoke to KNA claimed that there is a gang that has specialised in vandalising and draining coolant from transformers, thus leaving residents without power.

On Friday last week, the residents said they were forced to chase three men who were attempting to access a transformer at Gatunduguru market at around 2 p.m.

The trio, who masqueraded as employees of Kenya Power (KP), could not produce any documents to prove their identity, forcing the locals to chase them away.

The residents further accused KP employees of causing delays in repairing some faulty transformers in the area.

A local resident, James Karanja, revealed that Gathimaini dispensary has been without electricity for more than three months after the transformer blew up.

“We appeal to KP to help us get power back. As residents, we are also on the lookout to protect the transformers from being vandalised by crooks,” said Karanja.

A community leader, Mary Mumbi, observed that draining of coolants from the transformers has caused faulty equipment.

She said the vandals are interested in coolants and copper wires from the transformers, saying the trend has caused locals to spend nights in darkness.

“The problem needs concerted efforts from the locals, security people and the KP to stop this menace. Power is very crucial in delivery of services, and as we speak, those deal welding have not been working,” she added.

Kigumo MP Joseph Munyoro admitted that there have been power blackouts, especially in Gathimaini and Kimotho villages, where the locals have been in darkness for several months due to faulty transformers.

He noted the blackouts, apart from posing security risks, have affected learning in local schools.

“We had a discussion with officials of KP and there is an assurance that the affected transformers will be replaced.  The agreement is that the equipment in the affected areas will be replaced within a period of less than two weeks,” said Munyoro.

Kahumbu MCA Chefman Njoroge, on his part, blames staff of KP for failing to repair or replace the faulty transformers when notified.

“Lack of electricity has grounded operations in local health centres since drugs and vaccines that need to be kept in refrigerators have gone bad. We appeal to Kenya Power to listen to the cries of local residents and restore power supply,” remarked Njoroge.

Murang’a County Police Commander David Mathiu appealed to members of the public to report the criminal elements in the villages for action.

“The matter pertaining to vandalism of the electrical equipment is being pursued as we ask locals to make reports of the people they suspect to be behind the crime,” said Mathiu.

By Bernard Munyao

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