Hwange breakdowns reverse improvement in electricity availability

By Staff reporter | 05 Sep 2019 at 17:29hrs
Hwange
A breakdown of three power generation units at Hwange Thermal Power Station recently, has seen Zesa increasing load-shedding across the country, Cabinet has observed.

This reverses the improvement in electricity availability that citizens had started experiencing following an increase in imports from South Africa.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists yesterday during a post Cabinet briefing that Zesa was working around the clock to stabilise the situation while negotiations with Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) of Mozambique and Zesco of Zambia were at an advanced stage, a situation that is expected to see a significant improvement in power supply.

"Cabinet received the weekly power and energy supply status report for the country from the Minister of Energy and Power Development (Advocate Fortune Chasi). The minister indicated that, whereas the electricity supply situation had begun to register significant improvement following the resumption of imports from Eskom (of South Africa), the situation recently took a dip owing to the break-down of three electricity generation units at the Hwange Thermal Power Station," said Minister Mutsvangwa.

"The Minister (Adv Chasi), however, assured Cabinet that the situation should stabilise within a few days' time, since two of the three broken-down units are now expected to return to service soon. Furthermore, the minister also advised Cabinet that discussions with HCB of Mozambique and Zesco of Zambia for the provision of additional power imports are ongoing.

"The minister expressed hope that the discussions would soon be concluded, thereby further improving the electricity supply situation in the country." Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet was concerned about theft of Zesa power cables and transformers in many parts of the country.

She said steps are underway to introduce stern measures to deal with all those involved in this heinous crime. The reduction of power supply saw Zesa Holdings reverting to Stage Two load-shedding schedule hardly two weeks after assuring consumers of significant relief.

Last month, Zesa spokesperson Mr Fullard Gwasira indicated that they had downgraded load-shedding from Stage Two to Stage One after it started receiving 400MW from Eskom. However, before most consumers had improved supplies, Zesa announced an increase in load-shedding due to depressed generation of power.

Writing on his Twitter handle last week, Mr Gwasira said; "Load-shedding is at Stage 2. The small Stage 1 generators, whilst online, are producing very little and a major Stage 2 unit gone out for repairs. Shedding has increased phenomenally."

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