Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Massive power outage hits Bulawayo

Massive power outage hits Bulawayo

By Tichaona Sibanda
26 November 2012

One of the worst blackouts to hit Bulawayo this year left most of the city 
without power for more than 20 hours from Sunday evening to Monday 

The Central Business District, as well as most the eastern and western 
suburbs were all affected. It is unclear why the supply was so severely 
interrupted but reports say torrential rains that fell in the city over the 
weekend may have caused the blackout.

Our correspondent, Lionel Saungweme, told us the power cut happened at 
around 6pm on Sunday and power was restored to some areas by 2pm on Monday.

Power cuts are now a common occurrence in Bulawayo because of a fundamental 
shortage of power and an ageing grid. The chaos caused by such cuts has led 
to protests against the power utility company, ZESA.

‘The blackouts are becoming more frequent typically because of government’s 
lack of investment in the energy infrastructures, and which are also prone 
to serious weather. This latest power cut completely shut down production at 
companies and critical infrastructures such as telecommunication networks, 
financial services, water supplies and hospitals,’ Saungweme said.

He said authorities were working to restore service to some areas that still 
had no power, adding that there are fears the power blackouts will become 
more frequent, owing to the lack of incentives to invest in national grid 

Saungweme said the widespread power outages seriously disrupted business and 
industrial activities which adversely affected productivity.

He said, ‘It also caused disruptions and inconveniences to residents. In 
addition, such failure to provide a reliable service clearly has negative 
consequences for business confidence of both domestic and foreign investors, 
which in turn impacts on the country’s economic growth targets.’

Patson Mbiriri, the secretary for energy and power development, told an 
annual congress of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries in July this 
year that energy-starved Zimbabwe will suffer longer and more frequent power 
shortages for the next 10 years.

Zimbabwe needs about 2 200MW of electricity at peak consumption, but 
generates just below 1 300MW while relying on imports to fill the gap. 
Mbiriri said the country will only be able to generate enough power for 
domestic and industrial power by 2022. 


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