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Monica_55905 Jan 11

Light in the shadow of the pandemic

Light in the shadow of the pandemic image
At the Rabai Power Ltd. (RPL) plant, supplying electricity to hundred-thousands of homes and business is always an exciting task. With high availability rates & the reliability that comes with a world-class IPP, people start taking power for granted and only really appreciate it, when it is not available. But what happens when a pandemic hits?
Actually, being outside the power plant, nothing really happens, the light is kept on. The availability rate is still 98% and people, whether working from home or the office, still have electricity to perform their tasks, keep food cold, etc. but inside the power plant, everything changes. Focus is 100% on securing the safety and livelihood of the employees, so they can continue to help supply critical infrastructure to the hundred of thousands.
 
From day one, measures were implemented; selected staff working from home, daily provision of facial shields to staff and families, measuring of temperature when entering the plant, sanitizing stations, social distancing in work areas and canteen, open doors, outside rest areas, etc. all implemented to keep staff safe and to keep delivering electricity.
 
And then the task for further measures also begins. What if the situation worsens? What if a staff member gets sick despite the precautions? What if we get a local outbreak? Plans are made and precautionary measures are done, so all scenarios are taken into account and planned accordingly.
 
As in all other aspects of society, the day-to-day has changed during 2020, but at the power plant, things have fallen into place and new routines have become everyday life.
 
In the new everyday life, just as in the past, the surrounding community is of most importance to the power plant, and as such, the staff has also taken an active part in initiatives designed to curb and mitigate the spread of COVID.
 
The three pillars of Rabai

Taking part in the surrounding community has always been valued at RPL. From the beginning, the plant’s board has every year allocated CSR funds for the “three pillars of Rabai” programmes that are in place to improve health, education, and water.
 
The programmes have already had far-reaching benefits for the local population. In the past, the local health facility was unable to conduct even basic laboratory tests. So RPL added a standard diagnostic laboratory for the facility, which has immensely contributed to improving the general health status of the Rabai community.
 
An extension with a 20-bed capacity was also built, which fast-tracked the centre for hospital status and qualified it for additional funding from the government. The effect was immediately felt since, in the past, locals had to travel over 20 kilometres to the nearest hospital.
 
Another health initiative involves printing and distributing ‘The Hiding Hyena’, a booklet that raises young people’s awareness about the spread of HIV. The board printed and distributed 2,500 copies. Other sponsors and stakeholders have joined the project to help with distribution.
 
A scholarship programme meanwhile helps promising students with their expenses for secondary school. Since its inception in 2012, some 45 students have been sponsored.
 
Due to scarce water resources, RPL continues to provide clean water to the Rabai community through the community water point. And 15% of the plant’s water consumption is reserved for the community’s domestic and animal use at no cost.
 
Looking back a decade

More than a decade has passed since RTL began operation, and the last year has for sure been the busiest one, cause in general the plant is a smooth operation. At any given point in time, you will see people at work at the plant. The operation and maintenance team consists of more than 50 local employees, of which 25% are women and a couple of expats.
 
About two thirds have been on the team since before the commissioning back in October 2009. One of them is Mugo Mwai. Mugo has had several different positions at the plant, but he has risen through the ranks to become the fuel manager. Like the rest of BWSC, Mugo knows the importance of a safe workplace; he and his team have unloaded close to 30,000 tankers without an accident that interrupted work. Asked about his work, Mugo answers: “For me, the fuel department is all about quality and quantity control, safety and environment protection as well as speed in unloading. It’s important to be alert all the time when receiving fuel to ensure the quality and the quantity of the fuel being delivered is in order.”
 
Because of his experience and contributions, Mugo was asked to hold seminars and train locals prior to the inauguration of another of BWSC’s power plants, the Kayes power plant in Mali.
 
But as said, Mugo is not on his own, he is part of a great team, that every day set the standard for efficient and reliable power production in Eastern Africa, making sure that the 90 MW plant continuously deliver electricity to the Mombasa grid – before, through and after the pandemic.
 
To learn more about the plant and its background visit: www.bwsc.com/projects/rabai


 
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