NYERI town and its environs yesterday morning experienced a blackout following the vandalism of a major Kenya Power station by a 10-man gang.
Mt Kenya regional manager David Mwaniki said the vandals struck at 2.30am and dismantled transformers, copper earthings and cables at the Gamerock-Kiganjo sub-station based at King'ong'o.
"A Kenya Power emergency team rushed to the sub-station from Nyeri town, 25 kilometres away, unaware of the cause. They were forced to retreat when they were confronted by the gang. They sought police assistance but on coming back the gang was gone," he added.
They had earlier blocked the road leading to the substation to keep off the police. One of the vandals was reportedly electrocuted as he was heard screaming for help during the incident.
"The vandals also broke into the control room and switched off power to siphon fuel from the transformers in the substation," Mwaniki said.
The company's technicians started repairing the vandalised equipment. However, Mwaniki said it may take more than 24 hours before power is fully restored.
"Vandalism of power installations is a big challenge in the region. The company may spend more than Sh1 million to restore the King'ong'o station," he said.
Mwaniki said the company spends a lot of money to restore vandalised power equipment noting that an average of 30 transformers are destroyed monthly in the region.
Engineers later restored power to Nyeri town from different substations. By midday power had been restored at Nyeri's central business district with the outskirts and other rural areas still experiencing the blackout.
Mwaniki however assured customers that power will be restored to all consumers by the end of the day. Police have launched a manhunt for the gang.