ZIMBABWE Power Company (ZPC) managing director Noah Gwariro yesterday told Parliament the power utility was owed $558 million by the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a situation that has delayed expansion of power stations.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Gwariro made the disclosure when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy chaired by Gutu Central MP Lovemore Matuke (Zanu PF) to speak on the power generation status in the country.
“As at February 2015, ZETDC owed us $558 million and the majority of the debt is over 120 days, and non-payment of this debt has resulted in ZPC not paying suppliers,” Gwariro said.
“This has increased our operational costs and has negatively impacted on the rehabilitation of plants.”
Gwariro said ZPC had engaged ZETDC to take measures to increase collection of electricity bills, adding ZETDC creditors were being ranked in order of priority, discounts being given for off-payments, and negotiable payment plans being offered.
He said some of the challenges ZPC faced in increasing power generation capacity at different power stations like Hwange, Kariba, Harare, Bulawayo, Munyati and Kariba were archaic equipment, unreliable boilers, scaling down of tubes causing leaks and high costs of refurbishment.
“Most of the power generation plants are fairly old and by normal power industry standards, plants are supposed to go up to 25 to 30 years. We have challenges of tube leaks, but we do chemical cleaning to address scaling of tubes. We also have a problem of feed heaters that are not operational,” he said.
The committee was also told that the whole nation required 2 200 megawatts per month against a current generation capacity of 1 365 megawatts, thus creating a shortfall of 800 megawatts.
“Hwange has generation capacity of 920 megawatts, but what is available is 650 megawatts. Kariba has capacity to increase to 750 megawatts from current 660 megawatts. Bulawayo has capacity to realise 90 megawatts, but was currently at 26 megawatts. Harare can generate 75 megawatts, but is at 30 megawatts, while Munyati is generating 100 megawatts when it has a capacity of 120 megawatts.”
He said Hwange plant rehabilitation would cost $500 million, Harare Power Station refurbishment would cost $103 million, Bulawayo $144 million, Munyati $158 million, Hwange $41 million Gairezi Hydro Power Station $162 million, adding the solar project to enhance generation would cost $847 million, while Mutate would cost $159 million.
The high cost of coal was said to be one of the challenges faced by power generation plants as well as shutdown of water by local authorities.
MPs raised issues of dubious tender procedures in awarding contracts and use of clean water at generation plants when most suburbs lacked clean running water.
Gwariro said all tenders went through the State Procurement Board and were above board.