ZESCO Limited was by yesterday battling to restore normal power supply after the country on Monday experienced widespread blackouts when one of the four transformers at Lusaka’s Leopards Hill high voltage sub-station caught fire.
The Leopards Hill sub-station in Lusaka is a transit point for power being transmitted from Kariba North Bank and Kafue Gorge power stations and collapsed after the fire on one of the transformers leading to the power outage.
Zesco Lusaka division manager, Ernest Mupwaya said in in Lusaka that Lusaka, Central, Eastern, Copperbelt, Northern, Luapula and North-Western provinces were supplied power by Leopards Hill and Lusaka West sub-stations.
Mr Mupwaya said engineers by yesterday morning managed to switch on power to nearly all the provinces except for Lusaka as they were still trying to balance voltage following the loss of one transformer.
Zesco senior manager for marketing and public relations, Lucy Zimba said almost the whole country experienced the power failure except for Southern and Western provinces which are supplied from Victoria Falls, and areas serviced by small hydro power stations.
Ms Zimba said the company started restoring power after 22:00 hours but could not switch on all its customers at once because that would have resulted in damage to the machines at Leopards Hill as well and the Lusaka West substations.
“The power failure emanated from a fault at Leopards Hill high voltage sub-substation in Lusaka. We are now relying on the remaining transformers at Leopards Hill,” she said.
Zesco board chairman, Songowayo Zyambo yesterday directed management to publicise the recovery plan and keep the public informed on the progress being made on the implementation of the recovery plan.
Mr Zyambo said investigations on what caused the fire on the transformer had started.
The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) said it had engaged Zesco Limited to establish the full extent of the causes and effects of the nationwide blackout, which happened on Monday.
ERB acting executive director, Lukonde Mfula called for calm during the period and indicated that 80 megawatts of electricity was imported from the Democratic Republic of Congo to service the mines.
Mr Mfula said the Copperbelt Energy Corporation switched on the 80 megawatts of gas turbine alternator generation capacity they owned to ensure the mining sector was not adversely affected by the blackout.
Economics Association of Zambia president, Mwilola Imakando expressed fear that if interruption of power continued, it might lead to reduced productivity and negatively affect the country’s economy.
[Times of Zambia]