Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda Monday said the country faces prolonged power outages after a surge in electricity imports from neighbouring South Africa overloaded the network and caused generating plants to fail.
Speaking by phone to Bloomberg, Zhemu said the surge caused a nationwide blackout in the early hours of Monday, as it affected output at the Kariba hydropower plant and the coal-fired Hwange Power Station.
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Generation has since been restored at Kariba and it’s the only one of the nation’s five plants that are working, while engineers are trying to restore output at the Hwange units, said Zhemu.
According to the Zimbabwe Power Company website, Kariba produces 1 014 megawatts of electricity, compared with national consumption of about 2 000 megawatts.
Zimbabwe doesn’t produce enough of its own power and relies on imports from neighbouring South Africa and Mozambique to meet demand.
In parts of the city centre in Harare on Monday, businesses were using diesel generators to run their operations.
Eskom didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.