Meet Former KDF Soldier Running Kenya Power Emergency Operations

  • Major (Rtd.) Alex Koech Tasked to Emergency Operations During Power Blackout
    Major (Rtd.) Alex Koech Tasked to Emergency Operations During Power Blackout
  • A former military man is at the heart of Kenya Power Emergency Operations tasked to ensure all faults are addressed timely.

    To paint a clear picture of who this former Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) soldier is, we recall an incident on Saturday, May 9 2020, when the whole country was hit by a power blackout due to a technical fault. Although credit was given to Patrick Mwau, a craftsman assigned to repair the broken down insulator, little attention was given to the pilot who did daredevil manouvres to ensure electricity was restored.

    Major (Rtd.) Alex Koech, was the one entrusted by Kenya Power and the entire nation to fly other technicians at the top of the tower, hundreds of meters above the ground. Due to his courage, electricity was restored.

    Kenya Power Carrying Out Emergency Operation in May 9 2020
    Kenya Power Carrying Out Emergency Operation on May 9, 2020

    Koech joined Kenya Power in 2010, as a senior pilot after retiring from KDF. He has been playing a very crucial role in flying company staff, who carry out maintenance on power lines.

    He is also tasked with carrying out casualty evacuation, which involves swiftly airlifting maintenance staff injured in the line of duty to hospital, as well as conducting general flights for transportation of staff and materials from off grid stations and hard-to-reach areas.

    “Lifting linesmen when they are doing maintenance on power lines is a difficult maneuver but it’s a crucial duty. Once we get information that there is a fault and we are likely to lose power in the whole country, we immediately fly to repair the fault,” he stated.

    He added, "I fly staff to off grid stations where there is no proper transportation like Faza Island or Kiunga."

    If there is no scheduled maintenance, he must be on standby in case of any emergency, like a line breakdown.

    According to Kenya Power’s standard procedure, his team must respond within 30 minutes. High voltage lines require immediate rectification as their breakdown can cause major power interruptions in the country, as was the case with tower 26 in Kiambu.

    The former KDF soldier joined the forces after finishing his secondary education at Kabsabet High school. His zeal earned him a spot as a military pilot, upon which he was taken for a year-long flying course in Texas, USA.

    Koech was then posted to the 50th Air Company Battalion in Embakasi, Nairobi, and went on to fly military choppers, first as a trainee pilot and later as an instructor pilot, for 20 years. 

    Aside from running Kenya Power operations, Koech enjoys farming and spending time with his family. He continues to serve the nation despite retiring from the army.

    File image of Kenya Power technicians making repairs
    An undated image of Kenya Power technicians making repairs
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