Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development Minister, Zhemu Soda has said the country’s power suppliers, domestic and regional, will not be supplying Zimbabwe but allayed fears of prolonged severe winter power cuts.
Zimbabwe imports a combined average of 400 megawatts Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa of Mozambique and Eskom of South Africa who have since indicated they will not be able to export power outside firm contracts during winter as they also face huge demand.
Minister Soda said:
We have engaged our usual power utilities and others in the region but they told us that they will not be able to supply us.
Forecast demand is about 1400 MW against internal generation of 1200 MW, we will have a deficit of 200MW. We will resort to load shedding but it will not be severe; not more than two hours per day and this will not disrupt major economic activities…
Zesa is also looking at bringing back unit 5 at Hwange on the weekend and this should help us boost supplies.
At full capacity, the Kariba hydroelectric plant produces 1050 MW while Hwange Power Station, the biggest coal-fired power plant in the country is being expanded by adding 600MW capacity.
Zimbabwe has in recent past years experienced frequent power cuts due to low production at its major plants and a shortage of foreign currency to import.
At the peak of the power crisis, some regions would go for about 18 hours without power.
The situation has been normalising but there has been a recent resurgence of power cuts in some areas across the country raising fears the situation might worsen in winter.
Regular power outages hit industrial and, mining production, forcing some companies to invest in more expensive solar energy and generators.
Responding to Minister Soda’s remarks, Mr Carlos Tadya, a researcher with a local think tank said the assurance was refreshing considering that both businesses
Minister Soda’s remarks come after Zimbabwe and Russia this week signed an agreement that will see Moscow assist the Southern African country to develop nuclear energy in a bid to address the power crisis.