THE Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) says it failed to meets its generation target by 38 percent in the third quarter due to low water levels in Kariba Dam and frequent breakdowns at Hwange thermal power station. The Zesa Holdings unit said it generated 1 506,44 gigawatts per hour (GWh) against 2 365,61 GWh in the three months to September 2019.
This resulted in the country experiencing severe power cuts, which left households and industry reeling from high costs of running generators while triggering mobile network collapse.
Power outages have also been attributed to antiquated equipment at major power stations with some, accord- ing to ZPC, having outlived its lifespan of 30 years and executed.
"The company is also should have been decommis- sioned years ago.
"2019 has presented a very challenging operating climate for business and ZPC has not been spared. Be that as it may. We strived to maintain generation in the third quarter amidst the various obstacles.
"This output is 67,48 per- cent below that for the same period in 2018. For the year to date, ZPC has managed to send out 6 219,28GWh and this represents a negative variance of 9,08 percent," said ZPC.
In the period under review, Hwange Power Station generated power with an average of four units during the quarter and sent out 839,12GWh of energy while the small thermals sent out a combined 56,23GWh of energy.
ZPC said generation was constrained mainly due to frequent coal stack outs at Munyati and Bulawayo Power Station.
Zimbabwe's power supply has remained depressed and the country has been importing power from Eskom in neighbouring South Africa and HCB in Mozambique.
ZPC has embarked on massive power supply expan- sion projects to mitigate the power challenges.
However, the Hwange Power Station unit 7 and 8 expansion project, and the Gwanda, Munyati, Gairezi so- lar projects will only be com- missioned between 2022 and 2023 while the Batoka project is to commence generation in 2027, according to ZPC.
ZPC said the Menge ex- pansion project, which is ex- pected provide the nation with an additional 600 megawatt (MW), will only be commis- sioned in January 2022.
"Given that Zimbabwe's economy is projected to grow and demand for electricity set to rise, ZPC is also focusing on reviving the existing coal plants to augment power generation and the repowering of Bulawayo Power Station is going to be the first to be 11 working on the 120MW emergency/peaking power Mutare Peaking Power Station which was awarded a licence by Zera in July 2019.
"A number of notable achievements were registered during the third quarter of the year, with our major project in Hwange running smoothly and credit goes to all members of staff for their collective contributions in their various work stations and departments.