Zim energy minister fails to assure nation on crippling power cuts
ZIMBABWEANS should brace for more crippling power cuts as the government struggles to repair faults at Hwange and Kariba Power Stations, a cabinet minister has said.
Energy Minister, Soda Zhemu was quizzed in parliament on increased load-shedding but failed to give specific timelines when the power cuts would be eased.
“We would not know these interventions because currently we are working on aged equipment. We can only give assurance when Hwange Power Station is up and running, that is Unit 7 and Unit 8. That is when we will have self-sufficiency from internal generation.”
He added; “… on expansion of the power station, there are two units which will be coming through; one by the end of this year, that is unit 7 which will be producing 300 megawatts. “We will also be having another unit, unit 8 coming through in the first quarter of 2023. We will also see the rehabilitation of Hwange power station which is now very old.
“The intention is to bring it back to its installed capacity of 900 megawatts.”
Zhemu said the increased supply interruptions were due to ongoing repairs at the country’s key power generation plants.
“It is true that last week we experienced the worst in terms of load shedding,” he said.
“That was occasioned by the failure of one of our units at Kariba Power Station. Unit 6 went out of the grid last week which produces about 125 megawatts.
“We also had problems with generation from Hwange Power Station where for the major part of last week, the station was running on two units but by the end of last week, two units had been recovered from Hwange Power station.
The load-shedding has affected key service institutions with Bulawayo provincial medical director Marphios Siamuchembu recently pleading with power utility ZESA to spare city hospitals.
“These power cuts are already piling more costs in some hospitals such as Ingutsheni and Ekusileni Hospital that now have to rely on generators, yet fuel prices have been going up,” Siamuchembu said.
“The hospitals cannot do anything about load shedding and fuel prices but the government should just make sure hospitals are exempt from load shedding, or ensure that they have adequate fuel for back-up if they can’t be exempt.”
Zimbabwe relies largely on power imports from neighbouring South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia to meet demand.
The country generates an estimated 1,300 megawatts against an installed capacity of 2,240 megawatts owing to aging equipment and frequent breakdowns at power plants.
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