Zimbabwe is currently experiencing electricity load shedding due to reduced power generation capacity at Hwange and Kariba power stations.
With the opening up of the economy after extended periods of lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this could not have come at a worse time.
Kariba South is producing 900MW from an installed capacity of 1 050MW. Two turbines have to be shut down daily to reduce the outflow downstream of the dam while rehabilitation work continues on the plunge pool.
Zesa can generate around 400MW at Hwange as it continues to rehabilitate the boiler-turbine- generator units to restore 920MW capacity and add another 600MW with the third phase now under construction.
This means power supplies are inadequate during peak hours.
However, Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda said the recently published load shedding schedule by Zesa does not mean the power situation is worsening.
“The issuance of that (load shedding) statement by Zesa was for planning purposes within various consumer groups. That does not necessarily mean that our power generation situation has deteriorated. It does not mean that when the situation improves we will continue to abide by that statement.”
Industry and the agriculture sector have bemoaned the timing of the load shedding and urged ring fencing of electricity for critical sectors of the economy. However,minister Soda recently told parliament that negotiations are underway with Mozambique for an additional 180MW and a further 100MW from Zambia to ease current shortages.