THREE Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) employees who were trapped in a shaft at the Konkola Deep in Chililabombwe following a power outage that affected most parts of the country on Monday night were successfully rescued.
And Zesco Limited has revealed that the near-national blackout that engulfed the country was as a result of a suspected fault at Kitwe substation which later spread to Luano substation, thereby plunging almost the whole country in total darkness.
In a press statement released by KCM public relations officer Shapi Shachinda, he said the power which was lost around 19:30 hours and only restored about 09:57 hours caused significant disruption to its operations.
He said the company’s emergency response plan was immediately activated to protect people and equipment.
‘’KCM lost power supply at 19:30 and was only restored at 09:57 the next morning. Three of our employees who were trapped in the number 4 shaft at Konkola Deep in Chililabombwe following the power outage were rescued,’’ read part of the statement.
He said though the impact on production and financial losses were severe, the extent of the damage to equipment would be quantified at a later stage.
And Zesco Limited revealed that the near-national blackout that engulfed the country was as a result of a suspected fault at Kitwe substation which later spread to Luano substation, thereby plunging almost the whole country in total darkness.
In a statement made available to the media and obtained by the Daily Nation, senior manager for marketing and public relations Bessie Banda said the entire Zesco grid was characterised by excessive high voltages due to sudden drop in loads.
Ms. Banda said that before the outage, the internal demand for electricity was 1622 Mega Watts and that after the system disturbance; the country had a deficit of over 1500 Mega Watts resulting into the blackout.
“Zesco Limited regrets to inform the nation on the system disturbances that resulted in the loss of supply to most parts of the country on Monday, 27th April 2015. Preliminary investigations indicate that the power outage was caused by a suspected fault at Kitwe substation which later spread to Luano station,” Ms. Banda said.
She explained that the suspected fault triggered the automatic switching off the generators at the Kariba North Bank and Kafue Gorge Power Stations to protect them from damage.
Prior to the outage, the internal demand for electricity stood at 1622 Mega Watts. As a result of the system disturbance, over 1500 Mega Watts were not available on the national grid causing a partial national outage affecting Lusaka, Copperbelt, North Western, Northern, Eastern, Muchinga, Central, and Luapula Provinces.
Only 90 Mega Watts from Victoria Falls Power Station remained on the grid supplying power to Southern and Western Provinces,” she explained.
She explained that the cause of the suspected fault was not yet established as at yesterday and that the power utility company was still in the process of restoring power to affected areas.
“Zesco Limited is in the process of restoring power in all affected areas. So far, we have restored power to Muchinga Eastern, Northern, Lusaka, and Central provinces. Investigations are still underway to establish the actual cause of the fault,” she said.