ZESA apologises as several suburbs go a full week without power

ZESA has apologised to residents of suburbs that have spent a week without power after it failed to meet a Saturday deadline to restore power following a major fault at Glenville Substation in Richmond, Bulawayo.

Yesterday, the power utility was working flat out to restore electricity by the end of the day.

However, by the Sunday midnight, most suburbs were still in darkness.

Suburbs which include Entumbane, Cowdray Park, Norwood, Woodville, Richmond and Trenance have been in the darkness since last week and Zesa had promised to rectify the problem by Saturday.

While it has been gloomy for residents in the affected suburbs, retailers and vendors who sell alternative power sources like cooking gas and firewood have been making a killing out of desperate residents who now have a double burden of being without power and water.

Residents said they had lost perishables that they had put in refrigerators while school children studying for exams had challenges.

Zesa Acting Western Region Manager Engineer Lloyd Jaji yesterday apologised to the affected residents.

“We are finishing off the works to replace the switch gear and we should start testing this today (yesterday). We are sorry we failed to meet the deadline. We had to modify the replacement switchgear because it’s not a replica of the equipment that got burnt,” he said.

Eng Jaji said the power utility was targeting reconnecting Entumbane and other suburbs should the equipment pass commissioning tests, by yesterday.

“We had tried to use an alternative switch for Entumbane at Emakhandeni Sub Station. But after finishing our connections we discovered that vandals had stolen cables to the suburb,” he said.

In a statement on Friday last week, Eng Jaji said the power utility had experienced severe damage to electricity supply equipment.

“ZETDC would like to advise that the city of Bulawayo is facing intermittent strong winds and heavy rains as from the 22nd of November. The strong winds and heavy rains have caused severe damage to power equipment mainly due to trees falling on power lines.

The damage is mainly extensive in the residential suburbs where most residents maintain trees on their premises,” he said.

He said the power company was overwhelmed by reports of faults coming from residents and is failing to attend to them speedily. ■

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