Monkey causes nationwide blackout in Kenya

An entire African nation loses all power for hours on end - culprit turns out to be a mischievous monkey, who appeared remorseless.

Ari Yashar ,

Kenyan monkey, no relation to the culprit (illustration)
Kenyan monkey, no relation to the culprit (illustration)

Nationwide blackouts are a daunting prospect, plunging millions into darkness and completely derailing the modern lives of an entire country. Usually severe weather is to blame for such failures - but not in Kenya on Tuesday, where a photogenic primate was the culprit.

Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) sheepishly admitted in a statement on Tuesday that a nearly four-hour outage throughout the country was caused by none other than a mischievous monkey, who hopped onto a transformer and unplugged a nation.

The power company, which is Kenya's largest, reported that the fiasco began at 11:29 a.m. local time on Tuesday when a monkey climbed onto the roof of the Gitaru Hydroelectric Power Station, located on the Tana River in a rural region to the far northeast of Nairobi.

In its survey of the power plant, the primate hopped down from the roof and directly onto a transformer, tripping it and causing the other machines to overload.

In total over 180 megawatts of electricity was lost from Gitaru Station due to the meddling, "which triggered a national power blackout" as KenGen reported on its Facebook page. The outage dealt a heavy financial blow to the East African state.

KenGen frantically worked to bring the nation back on line, and after a panicked period of nearly four hours it succeeded in getting the power system back.

The company tried to defend itself, noting that "KenGen power installations are secured by electric fencing which keeps away marauding wild animals. We regret this isolated incident and the company is looking at ways of further enhancing security at all our power plants."

As for the curious monkey, it was completely unharmed by its brush with the high voltage transformer and was taken in by the Kenya Wildlife Service, where hopefully it will be taught not to go around unplugging massive transformers anymore.

KenGen's incredulous press release, replete with a photo of the unruly reprobate, can be viewed below.

KenGen's statement Screenshot/Facebook

A closeup of the mischievous monkey Screenshot/Facebook