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....