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Expect Zero Power Cuts In January: Gata

HWANGE: Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) board chairperson Sydney Gata has said the country should expect zero load-shedding next January next year as the power utility is implementing some measures to ensure enough supply in the country.

ZESA generates just over 1 400MW from its five power plants against a demand of above 1 700MW.

Power generation is affected by aging power plants with the Hwange Power Station which was commissioned in 1983 having outlived its lifespan.

Other power generation plants include Bulawayo thermal, Munyati thermal, Harare thermal, and Kariba hydroelectric. The country covers the shortfall through load shedding and imports.

Gata made the promise while speaking to the media during a media tour organised by the Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum (ZINEF) and ZESA.

“Electricity supply is a unique service which is demanded instantly. This asset was designed and commissioned in 1983 using the 1970s technology but has been operating non-stop,” he said.

“I am not saying we are ending load shedding, but come January you will see there will be changes. This will come from improved Hwange Power station operation, maintenance of the plunge pool at Kariba which we will finish in December.”

Gata added ZESA will also clear US$60 million of the US$80 million owed to Mozambique’s Cahora Bassa in the next few weeks.

“We will still owe then about US$20 million, but we will get 180MW and that should end load shedding. We recently signed an agreement with Zambia and we will soon be getting 100MW and another 200MW starting in January. Zambia has excess power as they are currently commissioning Kafue lower from where we will be getting power,” he said.

Meanwhile, the expansion of Hwange Unit 7 and 8 is now 72% complete but remains behind schedule as the first plant should have already been commissioned.

The project was supposed to take 42 months from its start in August 2018 and is now at its 39th month, engineer Forbes Chanakira who is the project manager, said.

The expansion project will add 600MW to the grid.

Most parts of the country are experiencing daily load shedding as the power utility struggles to fill the deficit gap. NewZimbabwe

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