Monkey causes nationwide blackout in Kenya

KenGen posted a photograph of what appears to be a vervet monkey crouching on top of electrical equipment.

Story highlights

  • "This is the first such disruption we've had by a monkey," utility says
  • The monkey survived and was taken in by wildlife authorities

(CNN)Talk about monkey business.

Kenya -- yes, the entire country -- was left without power for 15 minutes Tuesday after a rogue monkey got into a power station and triggered a blackout.
    That's 4.7 million households and businesses.
    The primate fell onto a transformer at the Gitaru hydroelectric power station, according to Kenya Electricity Generating Company, or KenGen, which owns the facility. The station is the largest generator in the country.
    "This monkey tripped a transformer. This triggered a cascading effect on the other generators which ended up disrupting power generation and distribution in the whole country," Kenya Power spokesman Eric Kathenya said.
    Kenya Power buys and distributes energy produced by the KenGen facility.
    Power was restored to some sections of the country within 15 minutes, and within three hours most customers had power again, Kathenya said.
    The Kenya Power spokesman described the outage as historic, saying, "This is the first such disruption we've had by a monkey."
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    KenGen is the country's largest generator of electricity, providing around 80% of energy consumed in the east African nation.
    In a statement posted to the company's Facebook page, the company said the system had been restored and that all power generating units were operating normally.
    As for the offending monkey? It survived the incident, KenGen said, and has been handed over to the Kenyan Wildlife Service.
    Although Kenya has one of Africa's fastest growing economies, the power outage didn't directly affect the majority of its citizens.
    According to the World Bank, only 23% of Kenya's 45 million people have access to electricity.