Zambia: Power Blackout Hits Zambia

MOST parts of Zambia were yesterday plunged into darkness for over four hours following a system failure at the Kafue Gorge Power Station.

Mines, Energy and Water Development Permanent Secretary Charity Mwansa said as a result of the power failure, Zesco had lost about 900 Megawatts (Mw) from Kafue Gorge Power Station and 655Mw from Kariba North Bank Power Station.

Addressing journalists in Lusaka yesterday, Ms Mwansa said the suspected defective isolator on Kafue Gorge Line 2 at Leopards Hill had been isolated out of the circuit.

She said Zesco also experienced transmission failure on the lines from Kariba North Bank into Leopards Hill, which affected Lusaka and the Copperbelt.

"We would like to apologise to the nation for the blackouts being experienced in most part of the country except for Southern and Western provinces and we hope our valued customers will understand and bear with us," she said.

"A team has already being deployed to patrol the lines between Leopards Hill 330KV substation and Kabwe 330KV substation to find out the exact fault."

And Zesco director of corporate affairs and business development Bestty Phiri said in a statement that power was lost in all parts of the country except for part of Southern and Western provinces, which continued receiving power from Victoria Falls Power Station.

In Kitwe, business came to a standstill in the central business district as most shops were closed, leaving customers stranded.

However, Kitwe Central Hospital was not affected because the institution relied on its generator for power.

Kabwe plunged into total darkness on Thursday night, and affected water supply to some residential areas.

Konkola Copper Mines said following the nationwide power outage at 07:40 hours yesterday, Nchanga Smelter and Konkola mine operations were affected, resulting in the emission of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere in Chingola.

Public relations manager Joy Sata said KCM advised affected communities to stay indoors and minimise outdoor activities until the situation returned to normal.

"After changing to emergency power supply, the situation returned to normal. Production was affected and the impact will be known after a thorough assessment has been carried out," Ms Sata said in a statement.

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