Drug addicts blamed for transformer vandalism

By KBC Reporter

Kenya Power has said that transformer vandalism that is mainly perpetrated by drug addicts is on the rise in the coast region .

According to the power utility firm, transformer fuses contain a powdery substance known as magnesium oxide which is believed to give hallucinatory effects when inhaled and has therefore become a favorite to many drug addicts.

Kenya Power incurred extra costs for a long time in replacing transformers which have ended up being vandalized.

The vice has been so rampant in the country, that some people have even lost their lives in the process of vandalizing transformers.

According to Kenya Power, transformer vandalism has reduced from a high of 37 incidents in a month to about 15. But just when the utility firm thought the vice was under control, a new wave of transformer vandalism has hit the coast region; transformer vandalism by drug addicts.

Kenya Power Regional Manager for Coast, Hezekiah Mwalwala says:  “We have recorded 20 incidents of transformer fuses vandalism in some parts of Mvita, Mishomoroni, Bombolulu, Changamwe and Nyali areas within Mombasa County. At times, this magnesium oxide is mixed with cocaine or tobacco to derive hallucinatory effects.”

Mwalwala says Kenya Power has increased surveillance on vulnerable transformers and has enhanced coordination with community policing authorities within the affected localities.

Kenya Power also notes that it has been placing transformers above high voltage lines where vandals cannot reach them.

According to the power utility firm,  in the last four months, a total of 174 people have been arrested for electricity theft and vandalism and charged in various courts across the country.