Electricity crisis worsens



Electricity crisis across the country has intensified with residents, commercial and industrial consumers enduring prolonged unscheduled crippling load shedding, Business Times can report.

Power utility ZESA Holdings started imposing rolling power cuts last week.

But, the electricity crisis was bad enough this week, with load shedding lasting between 8 and 10 hours.

The bout of rolling blackouts also cost the economy billions of dollars and also heaping miseries on consumers.

The power cuts are implemented during peak hours, where production is expected to be at its highest, threatening the economic prospects.

Load shedding has forced most businesses to resort to using backup diesel generators, which are expensive to run.

Overall electricity produced yesterday , according to  ZESA Holdings’ electricity generating unit, the Zimbabwe Power Company website, was 1 238 megawatts (MW against a national demand of about 1 800 megawatts (MW) at peak periods, with the electricity shortfall reaching 438MW.

Kariba Hydroelectric Power Station yesterday supplied 67% of the total electricity generated across ZESA’s five power stations at 829MW while the country’s largest coal fired plant generated 390MW.

Munyati Power Station generated 19MW.

Harare and Bulawayo Power Stations did not generate electricity yesterday due to breakdowns.

To cover for the shortfall, State-owned power utility, ZESA, imports from South Africa’s power utility Eskom, Hydro Cahora Bassa of Mozambique, and from Zambia.

However, Zimbabwe is not getting adequate imports as ZESA entered into non-firm contracts with the regional power utilities, meaning they can only supply electricity if they have surplus.

The situation has been worsened by the fact that most of the regional power utilities in the region are also suffering from electricity insufficiency, making it difficult for them to supply Zimbabwe.

“Power cuts are very damaging as businesses generally lose long hours of productivity,” a manager at a factory in Chitungwiza, who preferred anonymity, told Business Times adding “It’s not possible to be efficient because of power cuts.”

The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company, a unit of ZESA Holdings hinted it will be rationing electricity, citing low generation capacity and constrained imports.


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