Bulawayo power station collapses

Bulawayo Thermal Power Station collapsed on Wednesday, a situation that has worsened the shortage of electricity in the country.

Energy ministry secretary Patson Mbiriri yesterday told delegates attending the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries congress in Nyanga that the brick-lining at the ageing station had caved in.
Before this outage, the power station was generating 30 megawatts (MW).

Currently Zesa is generating up to
1 200MW and is struggling to meet daily peak demand.

“The brick-lining of Bulawayo power station gave in yesterday and this has to be rebuilt,” Mbiriri said.

“The peak demand for electricity in the country is around 2 200MW, but we are facing a deficit of 800-1 200MW a day and unfortunately the neighbouring states are in a similar position as they are facing shortages themselves.

“In terms of importing, we are bringing 100MW from HCB (Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa of Mozambique) and unfortunately we are not getting anything from South Africa because it will be at a premium and we wouldn’t want to think about it.
“We are meeting the gap through load shedding.”

He added that power utility Zesa would in
the next three months reintroduce the ripple control system in the country’s two largest cities Harare and Bulawayo to remotely switch off geysers.

Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira told journalists at the sidelines of the meeting that the centralised system would allow the utility to switch off geysers during peak periods normally between 5 o’clock and 8 o’clock in the mornings and evenings.

The implementation of the system will lead to savings of up to 45MW.

Gwasira said the power utility would invest about $500 000 to revive the system.

Zesa, Gwasira added, would next month start dispensing free fluorescent light bulbs, in a development expected to save 200MW, enough to light up Bulawayo, half of Harare or four small towns.

Zimbabwe has five power-generating units, which are all operating below optimal levels.

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