Wednesday, 19 August 2020

FRESH POWER CUTS HIT ZIMBABWE


ZIMBABWE is reeling from power cuts again, following a breakdown at two of its creaky power generation units at Kariba and Hwange, the Daily News reports. 

This comes as one of Zimbabwe’s main sources of power, Eskom of South Africa, is experiencing major shortages of its own — to the consternation of both ordinary consumers and industries in the neighbouring country.

Zimbabwe began to experience fresh power cuts on Monday, which sources at Zesa Holdings (Zesa) said were a result of breakdowns at Kariba and Hwange power stations. 

Officials at the power utility referred the Daily News to Energy and Power Development permanent secretary, Gloria Magombo, who told the paper that she could not comment on operational issues — before referring questions back to Zesa. 

“I cannot comment on this because it’s an operational issue. Maybe the issue you are talking about will be resolved today or tomorrow,” she said.

The latest power cuts are coming at a time that the government has been saying that power shortages will soon be a thing of the past in coming months — following major development works at Hwange Power Station. 

They also come after President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently visited power generation projects in Hwange — including Zambezi Gas and Coal Mine — which are expected to produce 750 Megawatts (MW) of electricity on completion. 

At the same time, the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) recently increased water rations for power generation at Kariba, following increased inflows into the dam during the first half of the year. 

“Following the arrival of the upper Kariba catchment peak floodwaters at Kariba in June 2020, and due to increased demand for electricity, the authority effected a four billion cubic metres upward revision in the water allocation made for power generation operations at Kariba, increasing it from 23 billion cubic metres to 27 cubic metres,” ZRA said.
  
Last year, Zimbabwe experienced one of its worst power crises — which forced Zesa to effect punishing load shedding schedules, which lasted up to 18 hours a day. 

The return of the power cuts also comes days after Mnangagwa sacked former Energy minister Fortune Chasi following his highly-publicised brawl with suspended Zesa executive chairperson Sydney Gata. 

Chasi has since been replaced by the little-known Muzarabani North legislator, Soda Zhemu, who has the unenviable task of cleaning alleged acts of corruption at Zesa and return the power utility to its former glory. Daily News

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