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Blackouts Expanded in Zimbabwe As Major Electric Power Plant Fails

With operations of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Company severely disrupted by the failure of six generators at the important Hwange Thermal Power Station and the disruption of transmissions from the Republic of Congo, the state-controlled power utility has expanded power cuts around the country to up to 12 hours a day.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted ZESA spokesman James Maridadi as saying that the breakdown of all six Hwange generators combined with a shortage of coal has compounded difficulties providing the country with enough electricity.

Hwange was supplying 400 megawatts of electricity. Maridadi said the cash-strapped power company is asking the government for US$30 million in emergency funds.

Former ZESA chief executive officer Simbarashe Mangwengwende said repairing the broken down generators, which were designed to run continuously, is likely to cost millions of dollars that the financially troubled state utility cannot afford.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...