Zimbabwe dealing with massive power fault
( dpa ) - Zimbabwe's state-run ZESA power company said late Sunday it was working flat out to restore supplies after a massive electrical fault plunged much of the country into darkness, state radio reported.
Power clicked off in Harare and the eastern city of Mutare at around 20:00 hours (1800 GMT) on Saturday. Other cities and some parts of neighbouring Botswana and Zambia were also affected, according to state radio.
The blackout lasted much of Sunday in the capital, although central suburbs like Eastlea had reported a resumption of power in the late morning Sunday.
In Mutare, 270 kilometres east of the capital, supplies were restored around 14:30 pm, though not to all homes, residents said.
Loss of power meant that phone lines, mobile phone networks, radio and television signals and internet connections also went down for many.
The chief executive of ZESA Holdings, Ben Rafemoyo, said a fault on lines connecting Zimbabwe with neighbouring Zambia had caused the blackout.
The power company has been struggling for months now to provide power in the face of a regional shortage and low tariffs set by President Robert Mugabe's government.
South Africa's power company Eskom is under pressure to stop its supply of electricity to Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia because of the critical shortages at home.
Zimbabwe's power imports from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were recently reported to have been cut.
The official Sunday Mail newspaper said ZESA recently paid 10 million US dollars to settle part of a 19 million US dollars debt to Mozambique's Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) company. HCB had threatened to pull the plug on power supplies to its neighbour over the unpaid debt.