Substation fault hits national grid

A MAJOR technical fault at the Insukamini substation in Bulawayo triggered countrywide loss of power early yesterday resulting in a loss of production time by business, which lasted up to noon.

Several businesses including small to medium enterprises failed to commence operations as a result of the power outage save for those with generators who however said they incurred huge costs.

Motorists also had a torrid time driving through busy intersections in the morning as all traffic lights were not functioning. 

ZESA confirmed the loss of power.

“ZESA Holdings would like to inform its valued customers that the national grid experienced a system surge this morning at 05.22hrs, which was triggered by a busbar fault at the Insukamini 330kv substation in Bulawayo,” said the power utility in a statement.

“This led to a loss of power in the national grid. Power has since been restored to most parts of the country and our technical teams are on the ground to ensure full restoration of service in the shortest time.”

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries Matabeleland Chapter president, Mr Joseph Gunda, said the power outage crippled industrial operations, particularly in Bulawayo as most industries had to shut down.

He said most of industries do not have alternative power hence could not operate during the power outage.

“There are not many companies that have big generators that can power heavy machinery. We have followed up with ZESA and they are talking of a power problem at Insukamini,” said Mr Gunda.

Bulawayo Chamber of SMEs programmes coordinator Mr Nketa Mangoye Dlamini said the electricity outage experienced yesterday adversely affected most SMEs.

He said loss of few production hours means a lot to SMEs who have to meet set times to deliver orders.

“This is the peak period for us as most of our members are into production of school uniforms. We have huge orders for uniforms from different school authorities that we should deliver before schools open on Tuesday,” said Mr Dlamini.

Residents also expressed concern over the power outage. Mrs Edith Zhou said she had stocked meat to last her through January but feared that power cuts could result in a loss.

“It’s really sad because the day is almost over and we still have no ZESA. I am worried l will lose all the meat and it will be a disaster,” she said.

Another resident, Ms Gladys Ndlovu, said she is taking diabetes medication so she has to keep her injection in the fridge. 

She said she was worried when she heard that the power outage was countrywide.

Last year the Government commissioned Unit 7 and 8, a component of the US$1,4 billion Hwange expansion project which has added 600MW into the national grid.

This has seen a tremendous improvement in power generation hence load shedding was now a thing of the past.


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