, LUSAKA, Sep 19 – Zambia’s major power supplier Kariba North Bank power plant has been gutted by a fire, plunging large parts of the country into darkness, state-owned energy firm Zesco said on Saturday.
"The loss of 540 megawatts at Kariba North Bank power extension has affected the power supply in the country and we are going to increase load shedding," said Zesco acting managing director Cyprian Chitundu.
The fire which started on Friday night caused three generators with a capacity of 180 megawatts each to shut down and killed two employees, with dozens hospitalised.
The capital Lusaka and the copper mining town of Kitwe, in the north central part of the country, were among the areas hit by blackouts.
"The mines will not be affected because we will supply them through the main station," said Chitundu.
Chitundu could not give the cost of the fire, but said clean-up could reach 120,000 dollars (81,570 euros).
The plant is located in Siavonga district, some 190 kilometers (120 miles) south of Lusaka.