The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Sunday News Reporter
POWER utility, Zesa Holdings has started implementing load shedding that will see most suburbs across the country going for at least eight hours per day without electricity almost daily.
In a statement, the company said load shedding which kicks off immediately has been necessitated by power shortfalls due to generation constraints at power stations.
“The ZETDC (Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company) is experiencing a power shortfall due to generation constraints at Hwange Power Station, limited imports and a programme of dam wall rehabilitation at Kariba, which requires that two generators be taken out for 12 hours. The planned outrage of the two units then restricts Kariba Power Station output during these hours.
The power shortfall is being managed through load shedding in order to balance the power supply available and the connected load,” the company said.
The power utility said it will try to implement shedding as per schedules and customers were encouraged to look out for their areas of concern for planning purposes. According to the schedule, carried elsewhere in this publication, some suburbs will experience power cuts daily either during the morning peak or evening peak hours.
Zesa said it was imperative to note that the programme took cognisance and gave priority to critical supply points such as major referral hospitals, water and sewer installations, national security establishments, oxygen producing plants and winter wheat farmers.
“While the power utility is doing everything possible to improve the generation capacity, customers are encouraged to use the available power sparingly. Customers are advised to treat all electrical installations as live as power can be restored without notice,” said Zesa.
According to Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) as on Friday the country was generating 1196 MW of power. Kariba was at 809 MW while Hwange was at 433 MW. Munyati, Bulawayo and Harare were at 14 MW, 18 MW and 12 MW respectively.
However, despite intermittent power shortages, the future is bright for Zimbabwe’s power sector with the country poised to be self-sufficient in terms of its power requirements as a number of new projects are taking shape. Work in the expansion of the Hwange Thermal Power Station is at over 67 percent, with major milestones having been reached in the journey towards providing relief and self-sufficiency in power generation in the country. The US$1,6 billion expansion programme entails the addition of Units seven and eight which are expected to add a combined 600KW to the national grid.
Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda is on record as saying the Government was also ready to source for more imports whenever there are major faults that affect the national grid. Independent Power Producers also continue to contribute varying amounts of electricity to the national grid. Another 2 400MW project — Batoka — is being jointly pursued with Zambia and is expected to take off in the next few years. Furthermore, a number of coal and coal-bed methane projects, predominantly in Hwange, will add up to 2000 megawatts into the national grid in the next few years.