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I’ve reduced JKIA generator delay time from 2 hours to 30 minutes – Murkomen

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen, who has been dealing with the problem of frequent power outages affecting travelers at JKIA, now claims credit for reducing the time it takes to switch to generators from 2 hours to about 30 minutes.

After a nationwide blackout in August left JKIA, the region’s busiest airport and a major transport hub, without power, Mr Murkomen vowed it would never happen again.

In an interview with Spice FM on Thursday, December 14, 2023, the CS said he had worked hard enough to iron out the existing power problems at the airport whenever the now regular nationwide blackouts occurred.

However, there were further power cuts on November 11 and December 10, the latter of which affected operations at Terminals 1A and 1E.

For almost an hour last week, passengers were stranded at the international airfield, using the lights on their mobile phones to navigate the complex structure in search of their flights and exits.

In his defence, the transport boss said some unidentified people were frustrating the government’s efforts to ensure efficiency at JKIA.

“The airport management team procured two generators in August and they failed to work efficiently when a power outage occurred days later due to “unsuccessful synchronisation”,” he said.

“The same technical obstacle failed to activate the same generators during the second national blackout in November. I was assured that they had been synchronised for automatic switching when the power went off. A month ago there was a blackout and the generator did not start, the explanation I got was that the synchronisation was not successful,” he added.

Also read: Energy CS embarrassed by JKIA blackout, calls for investigation

Murkomen says that while he may not have been able to turn the tide completely, he has at least put a stop to the threat.

“People say I promised the country it would never happen again, but you have to give me credit for reducing the madness from two hours to 20 or 30 minutes. It should take a minute at the most, a good one should take about 5 seconds,” said Murkomen.

“I did not get to zero the way I wanted to and we underestimated the depth of the problem. Having got down to this level, I can now say that we are going to get this problem down to zero and we will not have the same problem again”.

To provide a permanent solution to the problem, Murkomen said the government will now procure two more generators to act as a secondary backup in the event of a power outage.

Murkomen has vowed to clean up the mess at the airport and has called on the Kenya Airports Authority board to help address the situation at JKIA, which includes constant power cuts and leaking roofs, which he had earlier blamed on the previous government for shoddy work.