Yvonne Ncube, Chronicle Reporter
BUSINESSES in Bulawayo are counting their losses following a power outage due to an electrical fault at Zesa substation in Belmont that affected parts of the city centre.
The fault also caused a blackout in some residential areas.
Zesa technicians had since Tuesday been battling to restore power to the affected areas.
Business operators said the power outage worsened their situation as they have already been adversely affected by reduced operating hours under enhanced level 4 lockdown.
Some businesses resorted to using generators or gas as alternatives while others were forced to close their businesses as they had no alternatives.
Food outlets could not serve most of the food on their menu as they had limited sources of power.
A Chronicle news crew took to the streets and observed that some businesses had not opened while others closed as early as 1PM as there was no power.
Retail shops, restaurants, internet cafes and informal business operators who spoke to Chronicle said they were adversely affected by the power outage.
Mr Tawanda Mwangambako, who owns a small internet café, said he could not open yesterday because there was no electricity.
“My business is new hence I don’t have an alternative like a generator. Due to the closure of schools and tertiary institutions I was recording good business from students making an average of $50 a day,” he said.
Mr Lucky Ncube, a restaurant manager said they did not have enough money to buy adequate gas hence they had to limit the range of their menu.
“The power cut came with losses and I don’t even want to start calculating how much we lost. We had to use gas which restricted us to serving fast food such as chips and sausages only. We could not serve our customers who wanted other types of food on our menu,” said Mr Ncube.
Mrs Nandi Thabethe, a retail shop manager, said she had to close early as solar power could not sustain them for the whole day.
“We had to switch to solar power but due to the weather, it could not sustain us till 3pm so we closed at midday. We are just counting losses now,” said Mrs Thabethe.
Zesa acting Western Region general manager Engineer Lloyd Jaji confirmed that the blackout was as a result of an electrical fault at their Belmont substation.
Power was restored after 5PM yesterday. — @SeehYvonne.