Meet the Kenya Power Employees whose Viral Chopper Stunt Fixed the National Power Blackout

  • Kenya Power technicians at work on Saturday, May 9, 2020
    Kenya Power technicians at work on Saturday, May 9, 2020
  • When the country woke up to an unprecedented power blackout, many did not anticipate the brazen efforts displayed by the Kenya Power employees in an attempt to restore power.

    To the joy of many Kenyans, the power distributor was quickly able to identify the cause of the outage that Kenyans had expected to last the whole day. A team was dispatched to Tower 26 in Kiambu and by midday, many affected areas had been reconnected. 

    According to a report by Citizen TV on Monday, May 11, the officials who repaired the damage belonged to the Air Mobile Team which deals with the repair and maintenance of the high-voltage grid all over the country.

    Kenya Power and Lighting Company engineers load a transformer onto a lorry.
    Kenya Power and Lighting Company engineers load a transformer onto a lorry.

    One of the employees identified as Patrick Mwau stated that what makes the team unique was that it deals with transmission lines with high voltage ranging from 400KV to 132KV.

    "I put my country first whenever I'm in service, then second comes my company so that we can keep being in the business of selling and supplying electricity to Kenyans.

    "Remember that there are also patients in hospitals who need oxygen since many of them are on ventilators especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic," Mwau stated.

    He further added that while the stunts they pull might look scary to some people, he had since lost almost all fear of heights due to the intense training he had undergone.

    This training, he explained, had incorporated many things, including how he should prepare himself for any eventualities that might take place.

    He further told the media house that he had done the stunt over and over again and was thus well experienced to conduct the repairs.

    "This is my sixth year in this business and have been in the air at least two times every month. The reason Kenyans have never seen this stunt is simply because we mostly operate in the bushes.

    "It is only seen by chance if someone records a video while we are in the midst of our works. So anytime anyone in the house enjoys their electricity, they should know that someone is in the bushes working behind that," he stated.

    Mwau further let it be known that while being hoisted up in the air to repair power lines, the engineers use a number of hand signals to inform the pilot about their status and also where exactly they want to land.

    His statement was corroborated by Major Alex Koech, a pilot with the Air Mobile Team, who explained that they operate without doors on helicopters to physically see the person being hoisted to the power lines.

    "There is no time that I can lift someone that I cannot see because he can hit obstacles or even the powerline. Every time you lift someone you must see his location and observe his hand signals.

    "Once I'm on top of the pylon, he gives me the sign to either go lower or go higher, and once he is on the tower, he gives me a signal, after which I stabilize the aircraft. He lands, removes my line, and then I leave," he stated.