Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe was yesterday evening plunged into total darkness after the power utility lost supplies from Kariba South and Hwange power stations, affecting all parts of the country.
Zesa Holdings chief executive Engineer Josh Chifamba said the problem was countrywide and that it was due to a disturbance on the interconnected system.
“Yes, at around 1945hrs today (yesterday), there was a disturbance on the interconnected system and we lost Kariba and Hwange power stations,” said Eng Chifamba.
He said the actual cause of the blackout was yet to be established, but there were indications that the problem could have started from Zambia.
“We are yet to establish the real cause, but I have been speaking to my counterparts in Zambia who indicated that they were experiencing the same problem,” said Eng Chifamba.
“It could have originated from that side, but we will get the correct facts as time goes on.”
Eng Chifamba said Zesa Holdings was working on restoring power to the country.
“We have started restoration and maybe around 1am tomorrow (today), two units at Hwange will be firing,” he said. “We will update the nation as time progresses, but everything will soon be under control.”
Eng Chifamba said the whole country was affected save for a few parts in Bulawayo that benefit from the supplies imported from Eskom in South Africa.
“The whole country is in darkness,” he said. “Bulawayo is on the supplies coming from Eskom and some parts of the town were spared.”
Writing on his Twitter account, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo said engineers were attending to the problem.
“The massive power outage in Zimbabwe has been triggered by a major system disturbance in the regional grid,” he said. “Engineers are attending to it!”
Prof Moyo said “quite a number of areas were affected with Harare all dark when it happened some while ago. Restoration normally is area by area!”
At Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare, the blackout left guests in the dark for more than 40 minutes.
People could be seen using their cellphones for lighting, while some were using torches.
The hotel management had problems with the generator and they had to park a Mercedes-Benz at the main entrance to provide lighting for local and foreign patrons.
Most buildings in Harare were using generators for backup, but many others were in total darkness, including all residential areas.