NAIROBI- Nine executives of electricity distributor Kenya Power appeared in court on Wednesday on suspicion of failing to prevent a fault on the grid, which caused a nationwide blackout last week, official court documents showed.

The East African country was enveloped in a blackout on Jan. 11 due to what Kenya Power said was the collapse of some towers supporting a high voltage line. Power was restored after several hours. 

Prosecutors told the court that the nine were suspected of failing to take action to prevent and correct vandalism on the line, leading to the collapse of the four towers, which caused the power outage, documents showed.

They requested the court to grant police the authority to hold them for 21 days as they continue investigations. The court granted police eight days to detain them as they continue to investigate, a source in the court told Reuters.

Kenya Power is the country's sole electricity distributor and the bulk of its power comes from Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), which is the main producer.

In May 2020, Kenya experienced a similar nationwide outage after a section of a high voltage power line that transmits power to Nairobi from the Olkaria geothermal power plants, some 75 kms (45 miles) from the capital, broke.

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri and George Obulutsa, Editing by Louise Heavens and Emelia Sithole-Matarise) ((; Tel: +254 20 4991239; Reuters Messaging: