Six day power blackout crisis

Chelstone ZESCO substation in Lusaka.
Chelstone ZESCO substation in Lusaka.

A six day power blackout in Eastern, Muchinga, Northern, Luapula and parts of Central Provinces has seriously affected businesses and created a water crisis.

The electricity problem which was caused by a system disturbance on the Kabwe-Pensulo 330 kilovolt ZESCO transmission line on Saturday, forced most economic activities to ground to a halt.

The businesses suffered huge losses as a result of lack of electricity.

Some companies including Government departments were forced to reduce working hours while schools also had to reduce learning hours for pupils.Radio stations were not spared from the crisis as they had to broadcast at intervals due to huge costs associated with running generators.

And a spokesperson for one of the affected companies, Highway Bakery Macdonald Ngwenya said that the company has lost about K 30,000 of business.

Mr Ngwenya said that this was in addition to K14,000 losses which the company recorded as a result of power interruptions on Thursday and Friday last week.

The traders dealing in perishable goods like meat and fish found that they were forced to throw away their products while others had to give them away for free to people.

ZESCO Spokesperson Henry Kapata confirmed yesterday that the power interruption affected Eastern, Northern, Muchinga, Luapula and parts of Central province.

Mr Kapata explained that the problem which occurred around 13:30 hours on Saturday took ZESCO engineers six days to repair because the damage was caused by heavy rains.

He stated that ZESCO had also lost huge amounts of money because of not providing its services to customers in the affected five provinces.

Meanwhile a serious problem of lack of safe drinking water hit Eastern Province especially among those areas relying on supply from Eastern Water and Sewerage Company.

The residents resorted to fetch drinking water from shallow wells.


Lusaka Times