Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What a farce!

It is now just over a year since our, 'all talk, but, no action',

government asked all citizens with disabilities to register. Now, it is
more than a year since so many of us did this very strenuous and quite
expensive exercise and we still have not heard anything from them.

All this was at our own expense and there was no 'special rate' for the
ones registering.

We provided a passport sized photograph (one of the requirements), as
well as various other check-ups, etc., which took over two weeks
sometimes of going back and forth to various government departments
including the Ministry of Health and then waiting to be assessed by a
medical team, etc. At times, we even had to do this more than once when
this team was not satisfied with something. In my case, I had to get a
Neurologist's report about the disease (Multiple Sclerosis), that I
suffer from. Probably because, I have not one disability but a number of
them and I suppose this team could not believe it! They were/are
probably not familiar with the disease.

But, after having gone through all of these inconveniences and expense,
we have not heard a squeak out of officialdom. Why? Was this just a
cosmetic exercise on their part so that they will please the 'aid'
givers out there?

The disabled of this country are no better off, than they were a year or
more ago. In fact, with the rising cost of living they are at the
receiving end of joblessness and homelessness, not to mention the ever
present hunger.

While quite a sizable population which consists of the disabled in this
country, our thuggish policy makers continue to behave insolently
towards its hard-earned tax payers and ignoring their needs.

So, all of you out there, what happens next after we register/ed? We
thought that the photograph we gave was for an ID card which would open
many doors for us, the disabled. What have you done in this one year
since we registered and many are still doing so.....?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

92nd, 93rd & 94th outage

It happened again on Sunday afternoon. Fortunately, though I was told that it would take about an hour, the power at our end was back within a few minutes, in fact.

Then, yesterday we had an outage of nearly 3 hours less 20 minutes starting from 7.00 pm till nearly 10.00. This time KPLC's emergency numbers had been switched off and whatever number I tried was not being answered. Finally after getting frustrating no answers from everybody whom I called, one of the emergency numbers answered and I was told that it would take one to two hours as there was a 'breakdown' in ...., yes, you've guessed it - Kipevu! Again!!!

When the two hours were up, I tried calling again, but, no answer. Then, I called Faith Njuguna who answered (in a very long time!), and by the time she got into action and the power came back, most of us were nearly 'well done' in this stifling heat of Mombasa.

And just now, our power went off, again, for a few minutes. Is the KPLC ever going to behave in a responsible and accountable manner and give us an explanation for these expensive outages? This can only happen in a banana republic. This irresponsible attitude.

Monday, November 22, 2010

91st outage

Within a couple of hours of having written the last email, the 90th...., when I had to wait to send it as I'd written it on battery power and could not send it immediately. At that time the power took at least an hour before it was back.

But, of course, not for long. It went off again and when I called the previously switched off 'emergency' number, it had come 'alive' again, mercifully. This time, a harassed sounding male voice told me that I would get my power back in 20 minutes as there was a problem (what kind...?), at Mwishomoroni.

These outages are playing havoc with our lives not to mention our every device which is dependent on electricity. Everything is beginning to pack up on us, including the Sollatek power regulators.

We demand that KPLC behaves in a responsible manner and/or be ready to pay for the damage their 'services' do to us. Their ineptitude is costing us, the consumers, thousands of shillings and they have to be held accountable and responsible.

And I wonder how soon after writing and sending this, the 92nd outage will happen.....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

89th, 90th and counting....., outages

Right after I wrote and sent the '85th to 88th outages', yesterday, the power went off as if in retaliation for about half an hour. Added to this was that not even their so-called emergency numbers were being picked up. In fact, those had been switched off!

Does this sound like an ethical, professional and responsible company to you? When they switch off their phones? And all of the other 'officials' including Ms. Faith Njuguna seem to have made a pact about not answering their phones, too.

They all seem to be aware of the fact that we have lost power and are desperately trying to inform them and also find out what is the cause of so many outages and fluctuations on any given day. But, since they don't have an answer nor do they want to explain themselves to their consumers, they have refused to answer phone calls.

The NCRRA has asked them countless times to attend one of our monthly meetings to no avail. This too, has been insolently ignored! One gets highly suspicious of the workings of such a company, don't you think? What is it that they are trying to hide?

And the reason for this email today is the outage yesterday afternoon and the current one. I am working on battery power and will only be able to send this email after we have our power back.

I wonder what was the cause of it, yesterday and the one today and how long this one will last for and what kind of maintenance did they do on these lines day before yesterday, Friday.

Is KPLC taking us back in time to the days of living in caves and communicating with drum beats and fire and smoke? Please, we are urbanites who have no idea how to do this. Or should we get some people (I bet they are in very short supply), to start teaching us how to do this.

We are all getting thoroughly fed up of KPLC and it's misbehaviour and unaccountability.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

85th, 86th, 87th, 88th outages & fluctuations

Our one and only power company, KPLC, is at it again. Of late they have been especially more insolent and incompetent than usual, if that is at all possible to imagine.

The inadequacies of their 'services' are totally unacceptable not to mention the fact that all of our equipment that is relying on a steady and predictable supply of electricity, is 'dying' on us. Who will be responsible for the massive cost to have these repaired or replaced? KPLC?

Of course, in any other more 'civilized' and accountable country, this would be the case, but, they will get away as this is a typical 'Banana' Republic where there is rampant corruption, no ethics, no accountability, no professionalism, no law and no justice. If we are not careful, we'll be headed the same way as neighbouring Somalia.

The whole of yesterday, we in Nyali, had a 'planned' outage for so-called 'maintenance' and while, for once, the power came back while it was still daylight - at around 4.30 pm, we have been having constant fluctuations since then. The latest being this morning around 8.00 am.

So, what maintenance was KPLC doing, yesterday, when immediately after we suffered fluctuations? One wonders what these people really do during such times.....

I also wonder how many more we are going to suffer in the coming days.

A/C No. 2399078-02 and unexplained outages....

The above account holder is my cousin who lives in Nairobi in the Parklands/Highridge area and they have been having constant outages, sometimes for over 24 hours! The last one was day before yesterday when the power went off for no reason in particular that they knew of, at about 7.00 am and they tried as always to call the various 'emergency' numbers that KPLC has given to the public, to no avail. Nobody was answering.

Ironically and probably due to my incessant emails regarding KPLC's countrywide incompetence, they sent me an SMS on the 15/11/2010 at just before 4.00 pm giving me the following emergency numbers to call or for making enquiries. This is what the KPLC SMS says.... 'Dear Customer, please reach KPLC Nairobi Call Centre on - 0711-031680, 0732-111680, 020-3201680 or 020-3644680 in case of any emergency and enquiries.'

As I do not permanently reside in Nairobi, I fwded this SMS to my cousin, mentioned above, who has constant irritating and days on end outages. Therefore, when they had their latest outage a couple of days ago, they tried calling all of the above numbers AND the ones that they already had, but, believe it or not, nobody was answering the above phone numbers, either!

Why? And did this mean that the SMS I got from KPLC was humbug? And this is not just the case in Nairobi. It would seem that KPLC displays its insolent behaviour countrywide with everybody.

The whole country seems to be in darkness half the time. So, how does one earn a decent living and is this kind of behaviour and attitude going to help in eradicating poverty? In fact, as far as I can see, it has just the opposite effect - by ruining all of our electric and electronic equipment and causing massive damage to it whose cost is unbelievably high.

So, is KPLC waiting for somebody out there with means to sue it for damages? And it's high time that they were made accountable for their shoddy and expensive 'services'.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

82nd, 83rd & 84th outages

Last Thursday, we had an outage and a number of power surges in between, etc., but, since last night, they have been getting much, much worse.

Not only this, but, now even emergency numbers have ceased being that. So, what is the point of having them known as such? There is also the matter of the people at the other end, like the Controller, who refuse to tell you what they are up to, i.e. why we are having the latest power outage.

This is strange since they can tell you for how long we're going to suffer from their incompetence, but, not what the problem is. Why is that?

Yesterday night we had an outage which lasted for over 2 hours and this morning barely 12 hours later, it has gone off, again and it is already over an hour that it has gone. I am writing this on battery power but, will not be able to send it immediately due to the fact that my Internet goes off, too, when we have an outage. Therefore, it will sit in my outbox till we see the light!

What a way to spend Sunday....? And in this heat, it's really awful.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

77th, 78th, 79th, 80th & 81st outages

Since the last time I wrote, 2 days ago, we've had at least 5 outages including one today. And nearly everytime I've tried calling any of the emergency numbers, they do not get answered. Also, by the time they might finally answer, the power miraculously comes back. So, one does not bother with these insensitive people who don't pick up even emergency numbers.

But, this afternoon at about 12.45pm the power suddenly went off and again trying to raise them up, took a while. When someone finally answered, they had no idea about it, as usual, and I was told that a team would be sent forthwith.

Now, considering that the KPLC emergency offices are at the other end of the island of Mombasa, we would be without power for quite a while. That is, their truck would have to make it's way across town and the only access route to the North mainland, the traffic jammed Nyali bridge. As mentioned umpteen times before, this exercise is an extremely expensive and impractical one when one considers the numbers of outages we suffer in the North Coast on any given day.

Constant suggestion - why doesn't KPLC have separate emergency offices out here somewhere, so that they can respond and restore our power faster?

I don't know for how many YEARS we are going to continue suffering these constant outages and the thousands of shillings worth of damage they cause.... What an irresponsible company!

Overseas Indians vs. Indians in India!!!!

The following article is so true and reminiscent of a similar here in Kenya, too. Very interesting read.


Overseas Indians vs. Indians in India

I would like to sum up our performance in the 20th century in one sentence. Indians have succeeded in countries ruled by whites, but failed in their own.

This outcome would have astonished leaders of our independence movement. They declared Indians were kept down by white rule and could flourish only under self-rule. This seemed self-evident The harsh reality today is that Indians are succeeding brilliantly in countries ruled by whites, but failing in India . They are flourishing in the USA and Britain.

But those that stay in India are pulled down by an outrageous system that fails to reward merit or talent. Fails to allow people and businesses to grow, and keeps real power with netas, babus, and assorted manipulators. Once Indians go to white-ruled countries, they soar and conquer summits once occupied only by whites.

Rono Dutta has become head of United Airlines, the biggest airline in the world. Had he stayed in India , he would have no chance in Indian Airlines. Even if the top job there was given to him by some godfather, a myriad netas, babus and trade unionists would have ensured that he could never run it like United Airlines.

Rana Talwar became head of Standard Chartered Bank, one of the biggest multinational banks, while still in his 40s. Had he been in India , he would perhaps be a local manager in the State Bank, taking orders from babus to give loans to politically favoured clients.

Rajat Gupta is head of Mckinsey, the biggest management consultancy firm in the world. He now advises the biggest multinationals on how to run their business. Had he remained in India he would probably be taking orders from some sethji with no qualification save that of being born in a rich family.

Lakhsmi Mittal has become the biggest steel baron in the world, with steel plants in the US , Kazakhstan , Germany , Mexico , Trinidad and Indonesia . India's socialist policies reserved the domestic steel industry for the public sector. So Lakhsmi Mittal went to Indonesia to run his family's first steel plant there. Once freed from the shackles of India, he conquered the world..

Subhash Chandra of Zee TV has become a global media king, one of the few to beat Rupert Murdoch. He could never have risen had he been limited to India, which decreed a TV monopoly for Doordarshan. But technology came to his aid: satellite TV made it possible for him to target India from Hong Kong. Once he escaped Indian rules and soil, he soared.

You may not have heard of 48-year old Gururaj Deshpande. His communications company, Sycamore, is currently valued by the US stock market at over $ 30 billion, making him perhaps one of the richest Indians in the world. Had he remained in India, he would probably be a babu in the Department of Telecommunications.

Arun Netravali has become president of Bell Labs, one of the biggest research and development centres in the world with 30,000 inventions and several Nobel Prizes to its credit. Had he been in India, he would probably be struggling in the middle cadre of Indian Telephone Industries. Silicon Valley alone contains over 100,000 Indian millionaires.

Sabeer Bhatia invented Hotmail and sold it to Microsoft for $ 400 million. Victor Menezes is number two in Citibank. Shailesh Mehta is CEO of Providian, a top US financial services company. Also at or near the top are Rakesh Gangwal of US Air, Jamshd Wadia of Arthur Andersen,
and Aman Mehta of HSBC

In Washington DC , the Indian CEO High Tech Council has no less than 200 members, all high tech-chiefs. While Indians have soared, India has stagnated. At independence India was the most advanced of all colonies, with the best prospects.

Today with a GNP per head of $370, it occupies a lowly 177th position among 209 countries of the world. But poverty is by no means the only or main problem. India ranks near the bottom in the UNDP's Human Development Index, but high in Transparency International's Corruption Index.

The neta-babu raj brought in by socialist policies is only one reason for India 's failure. The more sordid reason is the rule-based society we inherited from the British Raj is today in tatters. Instead money, muscle and influence matter most.

At independence we were justly proud of our politicians. Today we regard them as scoundrels and criminals. They have created a jungle of laws in the holy name of socialism, and used these to line their pockets and create patronage networks. No influential crook suffers. The Mafia flourish unhindered because they have political links.

The sons of police officers believe they have a licence to rape and kill (ask the Mattoo family). Talent cannot take you far amidst such rank misgovernance. We are reverting to our ancient feudal system where no rules applied to the powerful. The British Raj brought in abstract concepts of justice for all, equality before the law. These were maintained in the early years of independence. But sixty years later, citizens wail that India is a lawless land where no rules are obeyed.

I have heard of an IAS probationer at the Mussorie training academy pointing out that in India before the British came, making money and distributing favours to relatives was not considered a perversion of power, it was the very rationale of power. A feudal official had a duty to enrich his family and caste. Then the British came and imposed a new ethical code on officials. But, he asked, why should we continue
to choose British customs over desi ones now that we are independent?

The lack of transparent rules, properly enforced, is a major reason why talented Indians cannot rise in India . A second reason is the neta-babu raj, which remains intact despite supposed liberalization. But once talented Indians go to rule-based societies in the west, they take off. In those societies all people play by the same rules, all have freedom to innovate without being strangled by regulations.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

71st, 72nd, 73rd, 74th, 75th, 76th and other umpteen numbers of outages

Since the last count that I'd written about on the 19th of October, there have been so many in between those and the current ones that I've lost count.

One gets the idea that just because I have not been counting of late, KPLC seems to be under the mistaken impression that we have not been suffering from their continuous, offending and extremely expensive incompetence. And since last Friday (and one wonders why Friday afternoon seems to be a 'favourite' day for KPLC to be especially nasty!), there has been at least one outage if not more till today. Today, we have already been treated to two outages in the morning. Oh, another favourite time for this outages is just before 7.00 am just when people are getting ready to go to school and work. How come?

Then, since the last couple of days, one of their so-called emergency numbers has been continuously disconnected and this morning all of their numbers were either perpetually engaged or not being picked up. Finally, in the process of calling all the 'officials' numbers most of whom were also not answering, a couple of them answered who were in Nairobi! They, in turn tried getting these inaccessible local KPLC employees and let them know that we were without power here. All this took over an hour before we got our power back, but, in a little while we had another brief outage for a couple of minutes.

This is becoming a terrible state of affairs. How is one supposed to earn a decent living or live with the constant fear of power going off anytime and for an indefinite period. Now that the hot season has started, it's getting even more infuriating and unacceptable.

KPLC also for some reason best known to them have been avoiding meeting up with the North Coast Rate-payers & Resident Association (NCRRA), members despite countless efforts made on the the part of it's members to ask them to attend one of our monthly meetings. Our next meeting is on the 8th (coming Monday), in the evening at 7.30 pm at the Nyali Beach Hotel and we are hoping that this time some of them will show up....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Orange-Telkom's 'service'....

Since last Saturday, I could not go online suddenly using the Orange live-box, for some reason best known to it and my computer. So, I started calling all the numbers that I possess for help, but, nobody was answering their phones for some reason.

Eventually, I got through to Mr. Njenga from the town office who told me that he was off and not in his office, but, if I smsed him my 'bb' number, etc., he would try and help me. I could not get the helpline number '121' from my wireless phone and have subsequently discovered that I can only dial this number from my 'landline'. Nobody can explain to me why this is, so.

Coming back to my predicament of not being able to go online was suddenly solved soon after I sent Mr. Njenga the required numbers. Thinking that my problem had been solved, I merrily went on with my work and ignored the ref. number, 57900, that I was sent via sms by Mr. Njenga.

On Sunday my problems started again. But, earlier in the day, we had an outage and when a guy from the Nairobi office called to help me with the connection, I was not only not at home but, the power was also out. He promised to call me again between 3.00 pm and 4.00 pm. But, this being Kenya, where hardly anybody keeps their word, he did not call at all.

On Monday, I tried connecting, again, to no avail. Again, I had a truly difficult time getting anybody in the local Orange offices to pick up their phones. In desperation I called Nairobi and somebody answered but, I gathered from their numerous responses that they did not have the foggiest idea about any technical issues regarding their live-box.

Finally, I tried calling that 121 number from my landline where an computer responded and eventually got through to a human. She told me that my earlier reference number had been cancelled and so she gave me another one - 58098 - and that somebody from the Mombasa office would contact me shortly.

Well, nobody did and I had to make further numerous calls to the 121 number and told to wait an interminable time by the computer voice, before I would finally get through to a human who would tell me to keep waiting for a local feedback since their technicians were defeated in trying to solve the problem from their computers. It seemed that somebody would have to come to my place to deal with the problem. And since it was past 5.00 pm it was too late for anybody to show up, yesterday.

Now, since I'd been complaining about the connection since Saturday, one would imagine that Orange would not have such a lackadaisical attitude, but, I keep forgetting that we live in a banana republic where none of these 'officials' have any respect for time or keeping their word or thinking of calling in the event they are held up or can't make it.

Today, having got fed up of the computer voice telling me that it would take more than 5 minutes before a human would come on the line, I decided to go and do my urgent shopping all the way at Nakumatt Nyali where the Orange offices are and see them, too.

There I was assured that these techies were around the Nyali area and would come and fix my connection before leaving to go into town. Well, they finally did in the afternoon when I got back home. But, now, everytime we have an outage and the power comes back, I get problems with going online till I reboot my computer and disconnect/reconnect the live-box to get back on.

Before this happened on Saturday (I don't know why), everytime we had an outage and the power came back on (I have a Sollatek device), I never had to reboot, etc., and I could continue with my work. Now, suddenly, I have this added time consuming one. Can somebody explain this and help me sort it out, please? Also, do I get a rebate for this?

68th, 69th & 70th outage......

Since last Sunday (I have not been in town for a couple of weeks before then as well as I am quite tired and fed up of keeping up the counts and which is what most of our unaccountable and shameless officialdom want us to be - get completely exhausted and finally give up our fight for justice and service), KPLC has again provoked me into continuing.

Therefore, while the count is only the 70th, in actual fact, it would have passed 100 most likely.

So, to come back to Sunday. Early in the morning at just before 6.30 am, we were treated to an outage and this time it involved the whole of Mombasa including interestingly their (KPLC's), emergency offices. When I was told this by them when I rang, I guiltily felt little compassion for them and I am sure most people would not. In fact, they would think, 'good, now let them have a taste of their own incompetence!' That day, our power in Nyali did not come back till nearly three and a half hours later. We still haven't had an explanation from them about what happened. Just the usual standard reply that there was a problem at Kipevu.

Subsequently, we had two outages today. One in the morning at about 9.00 am when the power came back soon after I called them and the other in the afternoon when it took a lot longer in showing up, again. Both times, Kipevu was again blamed with no details.

Also, soon after these two outages, we had a couple of nasty (they always are), fluctuations which caused our Sollatek devices to switch all our electronic and electric gadgets off till the power stabilized.

Now, this is equally irritating, time-consuming and disastrous not to mention extremely infuriating. Why does this happens so often? Coupled with outages they are truly messing up our lives and equipment.

Then, people are trying to eradicate poverty! What an irony! In fact, such a faulty system and infrastructure causes more poverty than eradicating it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Crucial to life...

I've written so much about this life giving fluid over the years yet it is a never ending issue in my country and the world at large.

While our government, in the hope of bringing service to the people, has given birth to countless water bodies, these simply eat up vital resources and do not improve anything.

Just a couple of days ago, I was invited to attend a public forum by the Water Action Group (WAG), in my hometown, Mombasa, but, not everybody was represented since many did not even know of this meeting.

Then, all the various outfits, like the Water Company, Water Board, Water Resources Management Authority, Water Trust Fund, etc., got up to tell us whom we should see for whatever problem we might have. Example whom we should see for a water meter problem or an accounting problem, etc.

Now, most of us are thoroughly fed up with all these outfits that we have to deal with because none of them are accountable to the people, yet, they are paid hefty salaries to do their supposed jobs. There is too much bureaucracy involved in solving simple problems and wastage of precious time and money, something that these water outfits were created to save the average citizen, in the first place.

Anyway, there is a lot of unregulated or corruptly allowed water management in this town which none of the above mentioned 'organizations' want to hear about since they are the ones who were instrumental in all this happening.

Sometimes, I wonder if all my emails and blogs have any effect on the people concerned. It is like banging one's head against a brick wall!

And when we read all over that we should give up the bottled water habit, this is the ONLY water that we can be safely drunk in most developing countries since their governments have not put in place structures to make safe drinking water available to all. So, if we were to give up the bottled water habit, how would we survive? Drinking what kind of water?

Friday, September 24, 2010

OLD Nyali bridge - Mombasa Kenya

If only this land-mark bridge had not been dismantled..... Considering the infamous traffic jams that North Coast residents suffer every single day while trying to go off and back to the mainland might not have been so terrible.

But, our myopic government which still suffers from the same myopia as the one then, since it is the same lot - only recycled, decided to dismantle it despite the then Nyali residents assuring it that they would be responsible for its maintenance and upkeep.

Now, everybody is suffering the consequences of this tunnel vision. And while, at long last, something is being done to deal with the awful traffic situation in Nairobi, nobody in officialdom is giving much thought to the same happening elsewhere, and specifically in Mombasa the second largest town (city?), in this country of ours.

For their (govt.'s), information, and we hope that they have noticed this when they zoom past in their convoys of 4WDs which the traffic cops have cleared them. That we have only one outlet each for getting off the Island of Mombasa in every direction. To the South we have the questionable ferries, to the North the traffic jammed Nyali Bridge and to the West the Makupa Causeway. All of them, get choke-a-block with traffic during peak hours.

Should anything happen to jam traffic at any of these points, there is no alternative way to get away from any disaster. And since our Council has allocated most of the road reserves and developed on them, too, there is little room for expansion, either.

A very good example of this is the island end of the old Nyali bridge. It has become quite unrecognizable. Palatial houses have been built all over and if one wanted to show our new generation the former land-mark floating bridge, there is no way that one could, unless we knocked on various private residences to let us through!

So, is our present government going to do something to alleviate this constant congestion all over Mombasa? And if so, when? In fact, to let our officialdom (politicians), experience what the ordinary mwananchi has to go through every day, they should not bother with the traffic police clearing the way for them, but, experience first hand the results of their short-sightedness. Maybe, then, something will be done about it, pronto!

One can hope, at least......

Subject: FW: OLD Nyali bridge - Mombasa Kenya


for those who can remember and for those who never saw - only heard


Thursday, September 23, 2010

A/C No. 2399078-02 and the outages every Sunday

Since, I'm visiting my cousin in Nairobi, I have been told that they have been having outages for so-called maintenance every Sunday for the past 4 to 5 weeks.

Why is it that KPLC everywhere seems to delight in doing their maintenance on Sundays? And what is the need to do this in the Parklands/Highridge area (ref. above account number), every weekend? Is their work so questionable that they have to do maintenance on a Sunday which messes up everybody's off day? Or is there another motive?

It seems that one cannot escape from outages ANYWHERE in the country! We truly are living in a 'banana republic' and I do not know when we will EVER get out of that rut and poverty, too, by extension since these outages cause a lot of damage to property and people cannot do a decent day of work, either. Since we are living in the 21st century, nearly everything we work with has some connection to power, we need a predictable supply of the same.

So, could KPLC, please quit these persistent outages?

Hope we will have a 'powerful' weekend ......,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

63rd, 64th, 65th, 66th & 67th outage....

One of the reasons that Muslims in this town believe that they are deliberately being targeted by KPLC and our Water Company, is because they always claim to have more problems than usual from these two service providing companies during the Holy month of Ramadhan. It makes one very suspicious that every year, doesn't matter what time of the year Ramadhan is, since it's follows a lunar calendar, these two service providers will go on the blink more often than otherwise. I wonder why?

The whole month we had problems with outages and most of them used to happen smack at a time when we were about to open our fasts or prepare (late afternoon), something for opening it. There was hardly an explanation forthcoming other than, when pressed, 'there's a problem at Kipevu'!

Then to make things more insulting, we had a power outage on Eid day, i.e. Friday morning at a time when we were preparing to go for Eid prayers. Even if the outage stayed only for a few minutes, when everything switches off, we have no idea how long it's gone for and even when and if it will come back, this is no guarantee that it will stay, either.

This is what has been happening without fail, except for Sunday, since Eid day, till yesterday. The power goes off and on, not once, but umpteen times in a day without any warning, of course. Trying to call emergency at first got a prompt response, but, at the last outage, last night, nobody was picking the phone at the emergency, either. Fortunately, power came back within a few minutes.

Today, till now, we haven't had an outage....., yet. But, one never knows and can't relax. I wonder when we'll ever have a time when we didn't get a strong feeling that we live in a banana republic....?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

61st, 62nd outages & fluctuations

Between 11.15 am and 11.30 am, yesterday, the power went off again. This time trying to get the emergency to answer was futile and I discovered the possible reason for this when I called Ms. Faith Njuguna in despair. From her I found out that the function that they had to cancel on the 25th of last month (August), was taking place then.

So, while they continued with their shoddy service to us, they were having a lavish luncheon function at their customers expense. Now, we know what they do with the hiked up rates they charge us every month regardless of the quality of service!

I found out that the power came back after about 20-30 minutes.

But, again, at around 4.30 pm it went off, not to return till around 7.30 pm! This brings another observation that I, like many others, who also suffer when the power goes off. The matter of mobile phones and their battery charge. Unlike land-lines, which don't die during a power outage, these phones have a limited battery charge and need to be charged when low.

This is the predicament I found myself in yesterday. All my phones were battery dead and thank God for land lines. As I have one, I had to use this to try and call the various emergency numbers and when I could not get through to any of these, I tried Ms. Faith Njuguna's, again.

It took her a while to answer but she was still at this function and after I informed her of this 3rd outage within a 24 hour period, she gave her phone to somebody called Tsuma who claimed that they were still fixing the same problem which had caused an outage at midnight and that the power would be back in another 30 minutes. This was at around 5.30 pm.

Unfortunately, the power never returned after the claimed interval and the Muslims among us had to pray and open their fasts in the dark using alternative light sources. Those of us who use electricity to heat and/or cook our food had to either eat cold stuff or open their fasts with an alternative.

When I called Ms. Faith, again, I was told that it would now take 45 minutes, more! As is their habit, KPLC hardly keeps their word these days. They have become totally unreliable and horribly insolent. The stated time came and went with no power. So, I called Ms. Faith, yet again, and she was surprised that we still did not have power. She told me that according to her information we should have got our power back some time ago.

I was told that she would look into it and just a few minutes after hanging up - illumination! Was it some switch they pulled for this? And one wonders about the way KPLC communicates within itself. I am sure that some parts of Nyali got their power back, but, others, like us were still in darkness till after 7.30 pm.

This was an outage of over 3 hours with no satisfactory explanation for it.

This morning, there were fluctuations. Why? And for how long are we going to endure this impunity from this so-called power company?

Friday, September 3, 2010

60th outage

What a morning this is proving to be, too!

At around 12.30 am (midnight), the power went off and for once I decided not to call emergency thinking that they (KPLC), would be aware of the outage and rectify it in due course. I deduced wrong! When my alarm went off at 3.00 am, which is when I wake up during Ramadhan to say extra prayers and start my fast, we were still in darkness which warranted a call to emergency. I was told that it would come back in a few minutes.

When it did not, I called emergency, again and asked the person answering how long it would take since his 'few minutes' had come and gone without any sign of illumination returning. So, he told me to hang on and called the guys at the sub-station here where the fault lay, and was told that it would take 45 minutes. The reason I was given for the current outage was again a much overused mantra of broken wires at the sub-station, of all places!

Since this sub-station is under lock and key, how did the wire break?! And there is a security guard too, on duty, 24 hours.

And why did it take over 4 hours to fix? And when exactly did the crew start fixing? Since 12.30 am or they did not know anything about it till my call at 3.00 am? Which is when they sent somebody out to have a look and hence the over an hour extra outage time?

This matter about outages does not just involve messing up our lives directly, but, it has an indirect effect, too. Since our water pumps all rely on power to operate, our water supply also gets affected when we have these nasty outages.

And since our water providers are also equally incompetent in supplying us with this precious commodity, we have to rely on water storage tanks and pumps which in turn rely on a steady and predictable supply of power, too. Therefore, both water and power go hand in hand and when we don't have power for any length of time, we don't have water, either.

This state of affairs gets highly infuriating and frustrating when either of these so-called 'service providers' go on the blink! Like this morning, we suddenly had no water in our taps because of this. As it's Ramadhan, it's doubly annoying.

For how much longer is KPLC going to carry on 'working' in this lackadaisical manner?

Monday, August 30, 2010

59th outage

While we had a fluctuation late in the morning yesterday, it did not last too long. But, at night at about 8.20 pm the lights suddenly went off!

Of course, none of the engineers were answering their phones as usual, but, when I called emergency, for once the phone was immediately answered and informed them about the outage. I was told that somebody would be sent to investigate. I asked this person's name, but, couldn't make out what it was, though, he told me.

Anyway, the power came back after about 15-20 minutes, but, we still don't know the reason it went off. And why, this happens more often out at the North Coast than anywhere else. KPLC seems to act in a highly secretive manner regarding this whenever asked. Why? Makes one highly suspicious about what they are hiding....

Saturday, August 28, 2010

58th outage

Yesterday, when I got back home at just after 3.00 pm, I found there was

an outage. Making enquiries, I found that it had gone at 3.00 pm, a few
minutes before I got back.

I tried Mr. Mbaluka and then Ms. Faith Njuguna but, neither of them were
answering their respective phones. I tried emergency, too, but at first
the number was perpetually engaged and when I finally got through, I
talked to somebody called Hamisi who told me that they were connecting
us (whatever that meant, for are we not connected anyway, though, it's a
very questionable one, at that!). He also reassured me that the power
would be back in less than an hour.

Well, the 4.00 pm came and went but there was no sign of any light and
so I called Hamisi, again. Fortunately, he was still around and answered
and told me that it would be back any minute from then. It did come
back, eventually, but, I'm still in a fog regarding this particular outage.

And while I am talking of outages, I've been told by various friends who
live in different areas of Mombasa Island and one on Links Rd, near
Mamba village, that they had/have been without power since last Tuesday
night! How come? KPLC is getting completely unreliable and is on it's
way to becoming a pest! I pity those people and all the repercussions
that an outage of this long period would do to their various appliances
and the food, etc., in fridges, running out of battery power on mobile
phones and other nasty things. It is unacceptable!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

55th, 56th & 57th outages

Yesterday, though I was not home, I have my informers whom I've told to

keep track of the outages when I am not there, the power went off around
12.30 pm and came back after about half an hour. Since I was not there,
we have no idea why it had gone.

But, later in the evening within a space of less than 15 minutes, the
power went off twice. The outages were of a very short duration. It
seemed to me that as soon as i called either Mr. Musau's or Mr.
Mbaluka's phone, the power would come back. And they did not answer
their phones as is their wont of late. Maybe, when they found me calling
them, they switched the power back on, again!!! It seemed as though they
were waiting for me to call them.

In fact, I was talking with Ms. Faith Njuguna both times when I would
call her as I could not get through to the above mentioned two gentlemen.

I hope and pray that we are going to be able to spend an outage free
long weekend, Insha'Allah....

Monday, August 23, 2010

52nd, 53rd & 54th outages

While we've been having outages every single day since the last time I wrote which last from a few seconds to a few minutes, the last 3 days starting Saturday, things have been far worse......, if that is at all possible in the current trend that KPLC has started on.

To say that we are really and truly FED UP of this so-called power company is an understatement! And when we ring their emergency their overused mantra of telling us to have patience is adding insult to a very festering wound. They are pushing us against a wall and whatever that will lead to is not going to be at all nice for KPLC. They are taking their consumers on the North Coast for granted and since nobody has yet taken them to task legally for all the damage they continue doing to us does not mean that the thought has not occurred to us. They just might be pushing us in that direction.....

The following are the latest breakdown of the outages since Saturday night -

At about 8.15 pm on Saturday night the lights suddenly went off and I could get NOBODY on the phone, including emergency, to explain what was going on and when we would get our power back. I managed to finally get somebody and was told that there was a problem at Kipevu and it was affecting everybody in the Nyali area. So, they were now switching us to another source...?! Whatever that meant. Eventually, it did come back at around 10.00 pm, I think.

But, again on Sunday afternoon it went off at 12.30 pm not to come back for quite a few hours. This time while I tried calling all the engineers starting with Mr. Mbaluka, etc., and ending with Ms. Faith Njuguna, she was the only one who answered despite not feeling well. She too, it seems could not get hold of Mr. Mbaluka and therefore we couldn't know what was going on, why and when the power would be back.

Then, this morning on the dot of 8.00 am it went off yet again. Again, I could not get hold of Mr. Mbaluka and so reverted to Ms. Faith Njuguna who answered. She promised that she would call me back and I'm still waiting for her feedback. Maybe, she still has not been given an answer, either. But, I continued calling emergency and somebody answered who had the temerity to tell me in Kiswahili that I should have patience, yet again! No explanation was forthcoming and he told me that I should call Mr. Mbaluka if I wanted to know more.

This was a highly frustrating answer since Mr. Mbaluka is highly illusive and seems not to be able to answer difficult questions hence him not answering my calls. What exactly is going on? Doesn't it arouse suspicions? It also, probably does not augur well for us, the long suffering residents of the North Coast.

The NCRRA has also requested a meeting with KPLC officials to discuss these issues, but, we have been put off by being told that on the day and time we wanted to meet with them, they are having a lunch time function. But, they still haven't got back to us with an alternative day and time. We're all waiting for this. Are they trying to avoid us and our 'uncomfortable' questions? While they insolently continue with their power outages to us.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

ASK showground racket - possible solutions...

After having suffered sleepless nights for nearly a whole week thanks to

the ASK Showground maddening racket, I have several suggestions from the
various residents (victims), and myself to this annual problem in the
middle of a mainly residential area.

There are also some observations included.

1. Since this is an agricultural show (basically), why include
deafening and 24 hours of music into it? In other words exclude the music.

2. If, it is not possible to do this, then, enforce a decibel level
which is acceptable to the mainly residential neighbourhood. Or, have
these offenders build themselves a soundproofed enclosed space.

3. And if even this is not enforceable and possible, then, move the
whole outfit out of this neighbourhood and take it to a less populated
place which is not within hearing distance of any populated place. For
now, this racket can be heard for miles/kilometers away from the source
e.g. the Island of Mombasa proper which is right across from English
point and can even be heard in Tudor, etc. At the North Mainland, it can
be heard very far, too.

Now, for the observations....

Is our Town Planning Dept. in working order? If so, are they not aware
that for people to live peaceful and productive lives, they should not
be mixing various things together. Like heavy commercial businesses,
night-clubs/bars, etc., within a residential area?

This Show ground is a very offending case in point as well as a shipping
office that has been allowed to set up shop round the corner from where
I live called Sea Bulk and which attracts huge articulated traffic which
is not meant for this side lane and are highly noisy and an obstruction
to traffic, too. Reporting this to the Traffic Police has not resulted
in any action. Maybe, the owners have 'connections'...?

RE the Showground noisy madness which NEMA was aware of from day one,
but, were completely helpless in dealing with. This, I was briefly told
was because the Showground management was not at all cooperative. In the
process we had to put up with their racket way into the very early hours
of Monday morning despite the Show itself having ended on Sunday. Why?
Is NEMA without sharp enough teeth? Or were they trying not to tread on
some 'interesting' toes by being 'diplomatic'?

So, can the Town Planners start putting their collective heads together
and come up with a viable solution, please?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

49th, 50th & 51st outage

Yesterday afternoon when I got home around 4.00 pm the power had gone

off since about at least an hour before which would be around 3.00 pm.

Ringing the various engineers like Mr. Mbaluka and Mr. Musau got no
answer so I tried Ms. Faith Njuguna's number. While she responded
immediately, at first, she had no idea that our power was gone and why.
She promised to revert back to me after finding out.

She did and this time they blamed the wind! I wonder how often the power
goes off in places which experiences stronger winds than Mombasa?
Anyway, as usual no time frame was given as to when normalcy would resume.

This being Ramadhan when like me many other residents of Nyali are
fasting, our time for cooking our evening meal is usually around this
time - mid-afternoon. And those of us who make use of electricity to
cook get totally messed up with such an outage.

I told Faith this and while she understood this, she was completely
helpless. I told her that I have, like many other consumers, noticed
that every year during the month of Ramadhan, both of our two service
providers, the water guys and KPLC are especially awful despite requests
every year being made by various Muslim bodies to these two, to please,
keep outages to a minimum and to the water company that it should give a
reliable supply. And like always, she denied this, like her colleagues.

But, like other requests, all of them fall on deaf and uncaring ears and
forget about being fewer - they mysteriously increase to an offensive
number, like yesterday and this morning.

Back to yesterday - the power came back about 20 minutes to 6.00 pm and
went off yet again, about half an hour later not to return till after
nearly an hour. All these timings coincided with our preparing our meal,
opening our fasts, praying and having our meal.

And all the time, the showground racket which is dependent on a reliable
power supply was going on in full swing! How come they never have an
interruption like us? At least, then we would get some much needed
relief from an irritating and disturbing non-stop noise about which NEMA
seems to be helpless in taking action despite their noise pollution law.

But, the 51st outage happened this morning. Again calling any of the
KPLC numbers proved futile, but, fortunately it came back within a few
minutes. Why it had gone is anybody's guess, of course.