17 June 2009 – A fire that broke out at one of ZESCO Limited’s four transformers at Lusaka’s Leopards Hill high voltage sub-station, caused widespread blackouts and the utility has been struggling to restore normal power supply
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 supplied power to seven provinces in the country.
While power was yesterday restored to most provinces by morning, Lusaka was the exception. ZESCO management explained that they 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 Energy Regulation Board (ERB) said it had engaged Zesco Limited to establish the full extent of the causes and effectsof the nationwide blackout, which happened on Monday.
80 megawatts of electricity was imported from the Democratic Republic of Congo to service the mines. 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.