Zimbabwe's Electric Grid Collapses, Causing Nationwide Blackout

Zimbabwe's Electric Grid Collapses, Causing Nationwide Blackout

Zimbabwe’s state power grid failed to meet national demand on Tuesday causing blackouts across “most parts of the country,” the online newspaper New Zimbabwe reported Wednesday.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), which is the only electricity generator and supplier for Zimbabwe’s public power grid, issued a press release confirming the electricity outages on December 14. ZESA blamed the supply failures on renovations allegedly taking place at the Kariba Dam project, which dams the Zambezi River.

“ZESA Holdings would like to advise its valued customers countrywide that there is an increase in load shedding outside the publicised schedules due to the refurbishment works on the Kariba Dam wall,” ZESA’s statement read.

“The refurbishment works have resulted in the taking out of 3 units at Kariba South Hydro Power Station today, 14th December 2021,” the statement continued.

“[T]his has resulted in depressed generation, resulting in an increase in load shedding. Customers are advised to use the available power sparingly to minimise the effects of load shedding,” ZESA added.

New Zimbabwe described ZESA’s grid failure on Tuesday as the latest example of a “decades-old electricity problem” in Zimbabwe caused by the nation’s “deep-economic crisis [which is] underlined by corruption, waste of public money, mismanagement, and failure to reform.”

ZESA shares ownership of the¬†Kariba Dam project together with Zambia’s state-owned power grid, ZESCO. Both ZESA and ZESCO recently signed deals with Chinese firms that promise to significantly affect their respective electricity supplies.

Gabrielle Reyes