12-hour power cuts hit Harare

HARARE - Most Harare suburbs were yesterday hit by serious power cuts lasting 12 hours due to scheduled maintenance work.

Yesterday’s power cuts came barely 24 hours after greater Harare was plunged into darkness for 10 hours on Friday.

In a statement, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), said yesterday’s 12-hour interruption was scheduled, although most residents appeared to have been taken by surprise.

The Daily News On Sunday was inundated with calls by residents who complained of a “wave of unexplained’ power cuts blaming Zesa for not having forewarned them, although the power company issued a circular ahead of the maintenance work.

It was not clear whether the ZEDTC had communicated to the affected residents before issuing a statement.

Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira told the Daily News On Sunday that he could not comment further than what was in the statement issued by the ZETDC.

The northern suburbs were the most affected by the maintenance work.

Zimbabwe has been experiencing severe shortages of power due to varying reasons at a time when the whole southern African region is battling a crippling deficit.

President Robert Mugabe’s government this year gave the nod to the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to begin Hwange Power Station (HPS)’ expansion project aimed at increasing power generation capacity by 600 megawatts (MW).

The licence, granted by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority, also allows the company to supply electricity to any transmission, distribution or supply license who purchases electricity for resale.

Experts say the project, due to take 42 months to complete, will significantly improve the power situation in the country.

Zimbabwe produces 1 200 MW of power against peak demand of 2 200 MW, which means industry and households have to endure regular power cuts.

To close this energy gap, government has been working on re-powering small thermals at Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati.

The country is also working with the Zambian government to build the Batoka Gorge power station which is expected to generate 1 600 MW of electricity to be shared equally by the two countries when complete.

The Hwange Thermal Power Station has a design capacity of 920 MW, but produces less than half that due to ageing equipment and years of inadequate funding to maintain the plant.

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