Zanzibar in darkness

13 12 2009

By Mwinyi Sadallah
12th December 2009

Most parts of Zanzibar will go without power until next month after a submarine cable supplying it with electricity from Tanzania mainland snapped on Thursday.

The supply network developed hitches at Fumba area in the Urban West region, Isles Water, Works, Energy and Lands minister Mansour Yusuf Himid told journalists here yesterday.

The minister said that before the problem, technicians from the Zanzibar Electricity Company (Zeco) in collaboration with an expert from South Africa switched off the power to allow them to carry out normal maintenance since yesterday morning to 5:30pm.

“But after switching on the power, consumption rapidly increased causing one of the power receiving stations to be overwhelmed before bursting,” he explained.

He however said the government had taken measures to ensure that water supply services would not be affected.

“Emergency generators have been installed at water sources to ensure that people get water all the time as was the case before the power blackout,” he stressed.

He further noted that power services in Zanzibar will normalise in three weeks, saying the government had ordered spare parts from South Africa.

“We are expecting that spare parts will arrive in the country on Tuesday next week and the task of fixing them will start immediately because experts are already here,” he remarked.

The minister explained that after last year’s power problem which was caused by disconnection of the underground cable at Fumba and Kilomoni peninsula stations, Zeco entered into a contract with South African experts to make sure that the power receiving stations were regularly inspected.

He however said that security in important areas and some streets will remain intact during the time that the Isles will be facing a power blackout.

“I call upon people to be patient at the time as the government works on the problem,” he appealed.

Earlier, Zeco manager, Hassan Ali Mbarouk called upon Zanzibaris to remain calm at this time when the power utility firm in collaboration with the government was working on the problem.

Fumba power station has the capacity to receive 45MW through the undersea cable from Tanzania mainland.

Last year, the power black-out affected Zanzibar for almost three months, after the same submarine cable developed technical glitches, forcing the Isles’ government to call in experts from Norway.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN


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