By Matt SpicklerPublished Nov 15, 2017 07:20:58A massive power outage on the Ogesa power grid on Friday night caused significant disruption to the country’s electricity supply, leaving tens of thousands without power and forcing authorities to shut down parts of the island.
In the aftermath of the blackout, residents of the remote, mountainous community of Ogeasan, about 250 kilometres (155 miles) southwest of the capital Omonia, were told to return home and the evacuation of nearby villages was ordered, said local media reports.
The outage was the first since June 2016, when a huge fire swept through Ogeansa community, forcing a shutdown of electricity in a major economic and industrial centre, killing at least 12 people and leaving about 60,000 people without power, the Ogeda Daily News said.
Power was cut in more than 80 percent of the region’s main transmission lines and a large chunk of the main electricity supply line was also cut, according to Ogedasan Mayor Domingo Nascimento.
It took some 15 hours for the power to be restored and that it was still possible to reconnect some residents to the grid, he told reporters.
Nascimenta said authorities would reopen some of the transmission lines, while others were repaired.
He said that the country will be under severe economic pressure because the loss of electricity will cause shortages in food and other essential services, and people will be more susceptible to infectious diseases.
Power has been cut to nearly 70,000 households and another 6,000 businesses in Ogeosan since the fires, the countrys national energy company said in a statement.
Authorities are trying to restore power to as many as 40,000 homes and businesses in the affected areas and are expected to resume power supply in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the head of the country and a prominent local politician were arrested in connection with the power outage.
They are expected in court on Monday.
The head of a government body charged with overseeing the country`s energy infrastructure was arrested and is under arrest.
The Ogedamansa governor, the mayor of Ogedosa and other local officials have been placed under arrest, the national energy and industry ministry said in an emailed statement.
The incident has forced the suspension of electricity and water supply in parts of Ogesan and in some of its surrounding areas, causing widespread power outages and severe disruption to transport, communications and other key services, according the Ogdomar newspaper.
The island, located on the southern tip of Africa, is home to about 200,000 inhabitants and has been under continuous lockdown since June 16, when the fires swept through the region and killed more than 40 people and left about 60 million people without electricity.
In recent years, the island has been plagued by corruption scandals and other political unrest, prompting many locals to flee to the neighbouring country of Gabon.