Harare (New Ziana) – Cabinet was on Tuesday seized with the prevailing electricity challenges afflicting Zimbabwe, with remedies expected to be announced and rolled out soon, a senior government official has said.
Zimbabwe is presently facing acute power shortages which have seen consumers going for long hours, outside the normal load shedding periods without electricity.
The situation, caused by frequent breakdowns at Hwange thermal station, has been compounded by the water shortages in Kariba Dam which provides the bulk of Zimbabwe’s electricity supplies.
The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) which runs the Kariba Dam, wrote to the Zimbabwe Power Company last week directing it to stop generating electricity until at least January, when water levels are expected to have picked up.
“With the current performance of the 2022/2023 rainfall season in the Kariba Lower Catchment where the river flows are yet to improve and the associated inflows from the Upper Kariba Catchment which will only influence any potential increase in the Lake Level at Kariba during the later part of the first quarter of 2023, it is highly unlikely that there will be any reasonable inflow augmentation in the remaining period of the year 2022, giving little or no chance of improvement in the reservoir storage levels during the remaining period of the year 2022 and going into the first quarter of the year 2023,” ZRA CEO Munyaradzi Munodawafa said in the letter.
In light of that, acting Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Jenfan Muswere said government was seized with finding solutions.
“Cabinet deliberated on the issue of Zimbabwe’s energy and power supply. A detailed statement on the matter will be issued by the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Honourable Zhemu Soda, as soon as consultations are finalised,” he said in a post Cabinet briefing.
Part of the solutions likely being looked at by the government include, securing more imports from regional countries and expediting the completion of the Hwange 7 and 8 expansion project.
Last week, the first of the two units being built at the Hwange power station was successfully turned on for the first time, bringing the country closer to producing an additional 300 Megawatts.
The additional power is expected to be fed into the national grid before the end of the year and will go a long way in easing power shortages.
When complete, the two units, Hwange 7 and 8, are expected to produce a total of 600 megawatts.
Several independent power producers are at various stages of implementing their projects.