ELECTRICITY load-shedding around the country has increased over the last few days in response to ascending demand and breakdown of machinery at several power stations.
In some instances residents have had to go without electricity for four days every week. This is despite assurances by Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire that the power outages were set to ease.
According to the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC)’s generation status report of Wednesday, the country’s power stations – Hwange, Kariba, Harare, Munyati and Bulawayo – were only generating a combined total of 965 megawatts against demand of 1 630MW.
The report noted that internal power generation constituted 59,2% of the power supply. The country was only importing 100MW from Hydro Cahora Bassa in Mozambique and 120MW were exported to Namibia in honour of a deal between Zesa Holdings and Nampower.
The report attributed the decrease in power to broken-down machinery, major maintenance work, system disturbance and refurbishment of power units at the various power stations.
In Harare, station 2 was taken out of service on Tuesday due to a leak that developed on boiler 6 header cap. The station had to be taken out in order to conserve feed water which is critically low at the moment.
In Kariba, unit 3 was taken out early last month for remnant life assessment. Experts are mobilising to carry out the stator core repairs and re-tensioning. Work is expected to commence next week.
Unit 1 at Hwange was taken out of service on November 28. Repairs are in progress and the unit is expected back in service tomorrow.
Unit 5 was taken out on in early November for planned major overhaul works. The unit is expected back in service in February next year.
Unit 6 tripped on November 30 due to a system disturbance. The unit developed a tube leak. Repairs were completed and the unit returned to service yesterday morning.
Efforts to get a comment from Zesa were fruitless.
Zimbabwe is currently struggling to meet its energy requirements due to limited investment in the capital-intensive sector. Authorities say power shortages may ease in 2017 after government has completed several power generation projects on the cards.