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News around Africa - June 29, 2021

What Caused the Nationwide Power Outage in Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe experienced a nationwide blackout in the early hours of Monday. The country’s Energy Minister Soda Zhemu said the power outage was caused by a surge in electricity imports from South Africa which overloaded the power grid, causing generating plants to fail.

The surge affected output at the Kariba hydropower plant and the coal-fired Hwange facility, said Zhemu from the capital, Harare.

Electricity has been partially restored in the country starting with  Kariba of the nation’s five plants that shut down. Engineers currently trying to restore output at the Hwange units, he said.

According to the Zimbabwe Power Company’s website, Kariba generates 1 014 megawatts of power, whereas national usage is over 2 000 megawatts. Zimbabwe cannot generate enough electricity on its own and must rely on imports from South Africa and Mozambique to fulfil demand.

“Demand is outweighing internal power-generation capacity,” Zhemu said.

Businesses were using diesel generators to power their operations in areas of Harare’s city centre yesterday.


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