Harare plunged into darkness

The blackout affected business in the city centre, forcing supermarkets, pharmacies and bottle stores to close early.

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Residential areas were not spared.

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Zesa Holdings spokesperson Mr Shepherd Mandizvidza said the disturbance on the system resulted in the loss of 740 megawatts. “Regional power networks in Southern Africa are inter-linked, so there was a system disturbance in Zambia that affected the Kariba Power Station,” he said.

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Mr Mandizvidza said only Harare was affected because power lines that feed the city were disturbed.

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The city was isolated from the national electricity grid to ensure adequate supplies of power to industries and other essential services.
Mr Mandizvidza said Zesa engineers and technicians were working hard to restore supplies.

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“Power utilities within South Africa regional power pools are inter-networked and due to that, any disturbances in one network within one country may result in the disturbances in a network within the other country. This is what happened between Zimbabwe and Zambia,” said Mr Mandizvidza.

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“Due to the competence of our engineers and technicians, we have managed to restore electricity in Harare.”

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The power outage forced many businesses to close shop with a few enterprising ones resorting to generators.

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At Roadport, stalls that sell tickets were closed except Taqwa Transport, which was using a cellphone torch to serve customers.

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“All of a sudden, business is low here as people stopped coming to buy tickets due to black out,” said Taqwa Transport services manager Mr Abraham Mawonde.

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He added: ” People have to close their business because its dangerous to operate in darkness because criminals can pounce any time and rob you of all the money you have.” 

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The Chicken Inn outlet at Roadport used candles for lighting. 

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“It’s embarrassing that a giant food outlet like you guys you don’t have a generator. You’re making lots and lots of profit but you cant buy a generator,” said one traveller, who was clutching a pint of beer.

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A taxi driver Freddy Gandazha said the power outage had affected his daily earnings as people could not travel in darkness.

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“People cannot come out if there is no electricity my brother they choose to stay in doors. We just hope the problem will be rectified in time for us to coniue with our business,” said Gandazha.

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However in other places such as hotels business was usual because they use generators.

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Such was the situation at Fife Avenues Shopping Centre, Holiday Inn and Parirenyatwa Hospital they had their generators up.