THE ongoing power outages that have ravaged Harare since Tuesday interrupted a Cabinet meeting, NewsDay has learnt.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Energy minister Joram Gumbo told NewsDay yesterday that he was aware of the prevailing power blackouts that have affected Harare residents.
“Zesa has made an announcement that there is a fault that happened. Even when we were in Cabinet, we experienced a power cut and we had to use a generator. You can get more information from the managers because these are operational issues. We have been experiencing these outages at home for the past two days,” Gumbo said.
In a statement yesterday, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) said power cuts were due to a rainfall-induced technical fault that occurred on the bulk power supply line (132kV) from Dema to Coleford, consequently affecting the northern suburbs.
“During this rainy season, there is a high prevalence rate of electrical faults and in the interest of safety and efficient service delivery, the power utility advises consumers to always contact their nearest customer service centre for rectification of faults and should not interfere with electricity networks,” ZEDTC said.
The technical fault, according to ZEDTC, affected consumers in Greendale, Mandara, Chisipite, Highlands Park, Umwinsdale, Glenlorne, Chishawasha Hills, The Grange, Borrowdale, Gunhill, Hogerty Hill, Philadelphia, Hatcliffe, Mt Pleasant, Tafara Mabvuku, Epworth,Zimre Park, Ruwa, Mandlay Park, Letombo Park, Eastlea, Hillside and surrounding areas.
NewsDay, however, understands that apart from northern suburbs, western suburbs, such as Highfield, were also affected by the power outages.
ZESA Holdings spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said other parts of Harare were affected by power failure due to the short-circuiting of cable joints.
“We also have underground network, so if it rains, the water channels through the cable joints and this creates a short circuit. The heat that occurs during the year makes these joints deteriorate and when the rains come, they (joints) fail. Unfortunately, we cannot detect the deterioration early as the cable is underground,” he said.
The outages are happening at a time Munyati, Bulawayo and Harare power stations are not generating power, whereas Kariba Power Station gives out 774 megawatts (MW) and Hwange Power Station 376MW as of this Tuesday, according to the Zimbabwe Power Company.
Government in March commissioned two new power-generating units at Kariba South Power Station, which added 300MW to the national grid.
Zimbabwe imports 350MW a month from South Africa’s Eskom and 50MW from Mozambique.
The prevailing outages have invoked yesteryear’s sad memories of prolonged blackouts, where most suburbs were going for close to 24 hours without electricity, forcing residents to resort to alternative energy sources such as solar, liquified petroleum gas, wood and generators.