A blackout in any part of the country will cause an uproar amongst citizens with some netizens going a step further demanding explanations and fast restoration from the Kenya Power and Lighting Company. However, this is not normal across Africa. In countries like South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia blackouts are normal and are expected. This rationing of power is referred to as load shedding.
This is a norm in South Africa, Load shedding in the country had a viral moment this year during a rugby match between the Pumas and Western Province and Mombela. Stadium lights went out and the stadium became pitch dark, the commentators were in awe while South Africans took out their phones and put on their flashlights as this was well, normal.
“Load shedding is when power companies reduce electricity consumption by switching off the power supply to groups of customers because the entire system is at risk,” Dan Harrison. In simpler terms, a country cannot meet the demand for electricity its population requires. Hence, seeks out partial lighting/ rationing as a compromise. This has been a South African ordeal for the last 15 years. Over time, the load shedding phenomena has gotten worse and become a major political issue, reflecting the hardships for households and businesses in the countries.
In Kenya, the main challenge with electricity is the costly price businesses and households incur while using power. Forcing most of them to seek alternative sources of power, however, electricity still remains the most reliable. According to a report by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), the country’s highest energy gross demand was recorded on May 18, registering a 2.5 percent growth to record a new peak of 37,273.17MWh(megawatts per hour) up from 36,380.63MWh in November last year. With the increase in demand and electrical connectivity in the country, can Kenya fully meets its electrical demand?