The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) is no longer able to import adequte power from its neighbours because one of the main transmission lines has been vandalised.
This has resulted in increased load-shedding countrywide.
Fullard Gwasira, Zesa spokesperson, said the damage to the transmission lines was estimated at $50 000.
“There has been a significant increase in load-shedding countrywide due to vandalism of the 330KV Bindura to Dema high- voltage transmission line, which has resulted in the loss of 150 megawatts in imports from Hydro Cahorra Basa (HCB) of Mozambique,” Gwasira said.
The power utility, he said, was therefore unable to import power at the moment.
The vandalism has also affected neighbouring utilities to the Zesa network.
“Up to 35 electricity pylons have been vandalised with one of them completely collapsing and this has also affected neighbouring utilities wheeling power across our network” Gwasira said.
“The value of the damage to the electricity infrastructure that resulted in the loss of 150 megawatts of electricity from HCB of Mozambique is $50 000.
“These funds could have been used to connect new customers to the electricity grid, but are now being used for replacement purposes and to purchase spares for maintenance.”
Gwasira said the power utility had however found an alternative transmission line.
“In the meantime, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has implemented structural measures to the network to secure 20 megawatts of electricity from HCB through the alternative Mutorashanga-Alaska network. The Bindura-Songo transmission line will only be functional after the completion of the repair works,” he said.
Gwasira said ZETDC had already secured adequate material and equipment for the repair of the 35 vandalised electricity pylons covering a stretch from Zimre Park to Dema sub-station in Chitungwiza and repair works were expected to be completed before the end of the week.
The national grid was currently operating at slightly above 1 200 megawatts, against a national demand of 1 850 megawatts.
The Zesa spokesperson said there was no need to panic as local generation had slightly increased.
“Local generation has been increased with Hwange Power Station generating 547 megawatts from five of the six units and Munyati Power Station generating 37 megawatts, while Kariba is producing 620 megawatts of power,” Gwasira said.
One of the Kariba units is on annual maintenance and the Zimbabwe Power Company is on course to complete the maintenance programme just before Christmas,” said Gwasira.
At least $4 billion is needed to build new power generation units and repair old ones.