Zimbabwe: Power Outage Cripples Econet Services

Econet Wireless offices in Harare.

Econet services were down for long hours yesterday following a power cut that affected its network operations centre (NOC) in Harare, it has been revealed.

Customers complained of intermittent service on voice, data, SMS and Ecocash platforms for most part of the day.

Econet said the problems were caused by a fault that started when generators at the NOC failed to kick in following a Zesa power outage.

"Our generators failed to kick in following a Zesa power outage, resulting in an automatic system shutdown to protect critical NOC equipment," a company

official said.

"This affected our voice, SMS and some data services, along with the EcoCash platform.

"By late afternoon, most services had been restored. We believe EcoCash should be up any time this evening.

"Econet sincerely regrets the inconvenience the downtime has caused to our customers."

Asked to comment on the impact of power outages on general network performance, Econet said it would issue a full statement tomorrow.

"But suffice to say, regarding today's incident, the increased frequency and protracted duration of power outages in the country has inevitably exposed our

network equipment to damage, resulting in the increased incidence of network faults and downtimes, among other challenges that we will address," the official

said.

Economic commentators say a number of businesses would close down because they cannot afford alternative sources of power in the face of the 18-hour

electricity load-shedding being implemented by Zesa.

Zesa reduced electricity generation at the Kariba hydro plant to almost a third of its capacity due to low water levels at the dam.

The power cuts are threatening the viability of the mining industry with platinum and gold producers the hardest hit.

Zimbabwe has over the years struggled to produce enough electricity to meet demand and has resorted to importing power from countries such as the Democratic

Republic of Congo, Mozambique and South Africa.

However, Zesa owes power producers from South Africa and Mozambique millions of dollars, a development that has seen electricity imports being reduced

significantly.

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