WITH efforts to reduce load shedding in the country now in full swing, the government has promised a ‘bright Christmas’ citing low demand by the industry.
Owing to low water levels at Lake Kariba and aged thermal power stations, the small ones with equipment now 72 years old and even Hwange more than 34 years old, Zimbabwe is battling massive electricity outages, which saw other suburbs getting power between 10pm to 5am.
However, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Dr Gloria Magombo, told ZTN Prime’s The Chase that they are looking forward to a ‘bright Christmas.”
Dr Magombo said the traditional closing of industry and other business during the festive season will help in easing up the balancing process. “. . . I know within the next week or so industry is going to be coming down, usually they close between 16th of December to the 15th of January. “So that takes off the pressure from the system and if you look at the consumption, we are looking at 25% going to domestic, 25% going to commercial.
“Some of the commercial operations close but we also have commercial operations that stay on like supermarkets, but most of the offices also close during the time.
“Then we have another 24% (+/-) which is for industries where most traditionally shutdown during Christmas. Mining is about 21% (+/-), that one usually continues because mines can’t shut down because they still have to pump water during the rainy season.
“Then agriculture we are in the rainy season, and usually the demand is high during winter. So we are saying naturally the consumption during this festive season remains more on the domestic side and with reduction on the other side.
“We will see a bit of easing up of the balancing process. We are looking forward to a bright Christmas based on the analysis I have given,” said Dr Magombo.
With Zimbabwe soon to get up to 500MW of electricity from Zambia and Mozambique, while Hwange Power Station’s Unit 7 should be feeding 300MW into the grid soon, power outages will be a thing of the past.
Hwange’s Unit 7 is expected to start feeding electricity into the grid before month end.
Unit 7 has capacity to generate 300MW while on completion in the first quarter of next year, Unit 8 will also add another 300MW to the main grid. The rains are also expected to improve water levels at the Kariba dam.