BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
ZIMBABWE will resume power imports after electricity generation plunged due to low water levels at Kariba dam.
In March the Zambezi River Authority, which is jointly run by Zambia and Zimbabwe who own the dam, allocated 16 billion cubic metres for power generation from 19 billion cubic meters in 2018.
As a result, electricity generation at Kariba Power Station has been cut to 358MW from the planned average of 542MW.
Energy Minister Joram Gumbo said he will travel to Mozambique to seek electricity imports.
“It is a fact and very well known that the water levels at Kariba have gone very low to the extent that we might not be able to generate power by October if we do not manage our water
well,” Gumbo said in a post-cabinet briefing on Friday.
“Cyclone Idai was very bad for us and for Mozambique as well. But, on the contrary, it also was very good for the Cahora Bassa Dam (located in Mozambique) because the dam is full. So, in the next few days or weeks, I will be making a trip to Mozambique to arrange for increased imports of power from the Cahora Bassa Dam because it is over-spilling.”
He said getting the electricity from Mozambique would depend on the availability of foreign currency. Zimbabwe has traditionally imported 50MW from Mozambique.
Cahora Bassa Dam is the largest dam in Mozambique generating most of that country’s power through its power utility company, Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB).
Zimbabwe which has in the past spent an average of US$5 million a week importing electricity from HCB and South Africa’s, Eskom had reduced power imports by almost 50% by June 2018 due to the good rainfall during the 2017/18 season.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company has since released a statement urging clients to use power sparingly.
“The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company is experiencing increased power shortfalls ie, demand and supply mismatch, due to low water levels at Kariba Power
Station, generation constraints at Hwange Power Station and limited imports. The power shortfall is being managed through load shedding in order to balance the power supply available
and the demand,” reads the statement.
“Every effort is being directed at improving the generation capacity to ensure that supply disruptions are kept at minimum levels. In order to assist in reducing the power demand, customers are encouraged to use the limited available power sparingly, by switching off all non-essential loads. Domestic geysers, swimming pool pumps, Jacuzzis and other related
equipment should be switched off at peak times for more areas to have power.”