IN-DEPTH: Numbers Behind The Crippling Load-shedding

We have all been depressed by the load shedding I’m sure. While it was communicated that water levels at Kariba had gone down, ZESA didn’t give us a clear picture of how that had affected power generation.

Kariba Power Station

The hydro-powered plant has the capacity to produce 1050 Megawatts. Its currently the biggest plant in Zimbabwe till Hwange is fully refurbished. Kariba gets its water from Zambezi Water Authority which gives water to both Zambia and Zimbabwe. ZWA has a minimum amount of water levels they have to maintain to preserve the acqualife

Of the machinery that ZESA has, 2 of them require more water and unfortunately, there is none. That means they are operating at their minimum capacity and reports say they are always out of service these days. Since the rain season just ended its sad that these problems hit us now way before the dry season when evaporation will increase.

This has shrunk production from just above 900 Megawatts to just above 500 initially but production has since fallen to around 375 megawatts.

Hwange Power Station

The Power station has been battling low coal output and old machinery problems which constantly need attention. The plant, which is being refurbished, has a capacity of 900 Megawatts, however, due to their perils, their capacity is now close to 600 MW.

Other Power Stations

Other power stations like Bulawayo and Munyati and Harare have very low generation capacity and are reportedly battling old machinery problems.

Imported Electricity

Eskom and Cahora Bassa have been ZESA’s main sources of imported Electricity with Cahora Bassa giving ZESA around 50 MW. Eskom is now having their own issues and they reportedly have been complaining about not being paid.

Exporting Electricity

NamPower after giving ZESA a loan, had an agreement that they are provided 60MW by ZESA.

Electricity Deployment And Load Shedding

Zimbabwe needs around 2000 MW. Now that the production has decreased to just above 1000 MW, electricity has to be deployed wisely to make sure that places that can never be cut off like certain government buildings, hospitals, etc.are prioritized.

The industry also needs to be connected every time so that production is not disturbed. This leaves the domestic consumers out and dry as there is less than enough electricity to satisfy all households hence the power cuts.

The government has said it will import more from Cahora Bassa and have licensed 34 Solar plants, we wait to see if anything changes. In the meantime buy inverters, solar panels kits, and power banks just to make sure you are not cut off completely if there is a power cut.

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