Zimbabwe restores electricity after losing half of its daily supply

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe restored electricity on Tuesday after earlier losing half of its daily supply following a technical hitch that disrupted business in an economy struggling to overcome a commodities downturn and severe drought.

“All supplies are now back to normal levels after our power restoration efforts,” state power company ZESA Holdings spokesman Fullard Gwasira told Reuters.

Earlier, ZESA said 800 megawatts (MW) was lost due to a fault on its distribution system.

A large amount of the power lost is generated at Zimbabwe’s Kariba hydro power plant while the rest is made up of imports from neighboring Zambia and Mozambique.

Peak power demand in Zimbabwe has fallen over the last decade to 1,600 MW from 2,200 MW before a protracted 1999-2008 recession that saw the economy contract by nearly half.

Zimbabwe has since experienced chronic power shortages which have kept potential investors away, hampering efforts to rebuild the economy.

A drought blighting southern Africa has piled further pressure on Zimbabwe, while its export earnings from platinum, gold and ferrochrome have fallen sharply owing to a global commodities price rout.

Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa