TheKenya Power & Lighting Company (KPLC), Kenya's largest power transmission and distribution company, has embarked on an initiative to replace its transformers with non-oil based types. This is in response to rampant vandalism of its convectional transformers.KPLC has ordered for 100 dry type transformers which are to be installed in Kiambu, Nyeri, Thika, Dagoretti Corner, Ruiru, Gatundu, Limuru and Kitengela towns which are prone to transformer theft.
According to the firm's Operations and Maintenance manager, KPLC faces losses of up to Ksh.600 Million per year and economy losses of Ksh.2 Billion.These vandalism cases are mainly transformer oil theft but in recent times they have involved to the entire unit itself! I must say that the thieves have upgraded their business indeed.How the thieves manage to offload the 200kg unit form the poles remains a mystery to me.It would require a crane to do the tedious job.
The Convectional Transformer
This convectional unit is an oil-based unit because it uses oil as a cooling mechanism.This oil required to cool is on high demand in the black market and it is of these reason that it is highly vandalized.Once the oil is removed the unit shall overheat resulting to permanent damaging of the windings.Maintenance cost is very high.
It is of these reasons that KPLC has embarked on a mission that shall see these units brought down and new Dry-type Units installed.
The Dry-Type Transformers
The Dry-Type transformers contain no oil and their copper windings are encapsulated in a tough epoxy resin material that is very hard for thieves to put apart.These units are normally installed in basements if large buildings all over the world.We are now waiting to see what the vandals will do next.