Rogue monkey causes nationwide blackout in Kenya

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A nationwide blackout that hit Kenya on Tuesday was caused by a monkey that managed to get inside a hydroelectric power station, officials say. The outage lasted for more than four hours.

The incident began at around 11:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday when the monkey climbed onto the roof of the Gitaru Hydroelectric Power Station, which is located on the Tana River about 122 kilometers (76 miles) northeast of Nairobi.

“A monkey climbed on the roof of Gitaru Power Station and dropped onto a transformer, tripping it,” electricity provider KenGen said in a statement. “This caused other machines at the power station to trip on overload, resulting in a loss of more than 180 [megawatts] from this plant, which triggered a national power blackout.”

The outage continued for more than four hours before the network was restored and power generating units returned to normal operation. As for the monkey, the animal survived and was taken in by the Kenya Wildlife Service.

“KenGen power installations are secured by electric fencing which keeps away marauding wild animals,” the company said in the statement. “We regret this isolated incident and the company is looking at ways of further enhancing security at all our power plants.”

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