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‘Huge Fault’ at Hwange Plant leaves Harare without power

‘Huge Fault’ at Hwange Plant leaves Harare without power

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Tererai Karimakwenda
27 April 2012

A technical fault is said to be the cause of a power cut that left Harare 
without power since very early Thursday morning. The state-owned Zimbabwe 
Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) blamed a “huge fault” at the Hwange 
thermal power plant for the problem, which forced many businesses to stop 
operations and others to shut down.

ZESA is functioning with old equipment that has not been well maintained or 
properly serviced since independence in 1980. Mismanagement and corruption, 
which have destroyed other parastatals, are also contributing to the utility 
company’s ongoing crisis. Many areas of the country go without power 
regularly and power cuts have become a way of life.
ZESA is also owed millions of dollars by top government officials who have 
received power for years without making payments. SW Radio Africa reported 
earlier this month that the national power utility is under increasing 
pressure to switch off these officials, with the first family being among 
the worst offenders.

The Mugabe family reportedly owe ZESA more than US$300,000 as of December 
2011. Despite this, ZESA has been cutting off power for the ordinary 
citizens who are struggling to pay much less. Energy and Power Development 
Minister Elton Mangoma has said ZESA is owed more than $140 million by 
consumers.

Human rights activist Tariro Manhendere told SW Radio Africa that although 
some parts of the capital got power back Friday afternoon, many others, like 
Kuwadzana and Dzivarasekwa, still had none. She said these areas experience 
power cuts more frequently and for longer periods than the Central Business 
District.

Asked how bad this week has been in terms of power cuts, Manhendere said: 
“It’s quite this frustrating. You can’t plan anything, especially those that 
are in home industries who have no choice.”

The frustrated activist said vendors who sell products that need 
refrigeration, like meat, lose money when their products go bad but out of 
desperation sometimes still try to sell them.

More repairs to the aging equipment at Hwange Power Station were expected 
over the weekend and reports quoted ZESA spokesman Fullard Gwasira as 
saying: “Technicians and engineers are working flat out to fix the problem.

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