Total darkness looming in Zim

HARARE - Zimbabwe could soon be plunged into total darkness if water levels in Kariba Dam do not improve soon, Energy minister Samuel Undenge has said.

He told a Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce meeting in the capital yesterday that while power generation at Kariba was already 36 percent below optimum capacity, this was set to slump down even further if the hot weather persisted.

“While Kariba normally produces 750 MW, current capacity stands at 475 MW and we expect that this will have gone down to 285 MW on the back of reports from the Meteorological Department

that we are likely to experience a low rainfall season again.

“In light of this, we might be forced to reduce our water consumption at Kariba further, worsening the power situation,” Undenge said.

This comes after the national power utility also announced recently that Hwange Thermal Station would undergo maintenance until later this month.

Kariba and Hwange account for 95 percent of Zimbabwe’s 1 300MW daily power output and the shutdown at the latter plant means that the country will produce about a third of its demand, which peaks at 2 200MW — worsening the country’s dire electricity shortages.

The power deficit has seen industry, mines and households going for up to 24 hours at a time without power.

Undenge, whose ministry has come under fire for failing to foresee the initial depletion of Kariba Dam’s water levels, said the government had come up with a solution to plug the deficit, in the event that the country received low rainfalls up to year end.

“The immediate solution to avert a near disaster if we have low rainfall in the next season is to install what are called emergency power plants.

“These are modules of diesel generators which can be installed in the shortest possible time and we are working on installing them as early as February 2016,” he said.

Undenge said the plan was to start with an initial capacity of 200MW, with Cabinet having already given the green light for the implementation of the proposed plan.

But, he also warned that the diesel solution was likely going to lead to a tariff hike.

“I have no doubt that your experiences so far with these generators is that they are convenient but very expensive to run. If you were to put a tariff on them, then certainly this will not be less than $0,35/ kilowatt hour (kWh) whereas our tariff is on average $0,10kWh,” he said.

Undenge said Zambia, with which Zimbabwe shared Kariba, had recently imposed a 100 percent tariff hike on consumers.

He also suggested that load shedding had “recorded a noticeable improvement in recent weeks”.

“The situation is not all doom and gloom. For example yesterday (Wednesday) we managed to generate 1 125 MW against a demand of 1 615 MW after importing 50 MW from Mozambique Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB),” he said.

Undenge also urged local companies to import power in the interim and pool resources to build a power supply station, noting that Zimbabwe’s power deficit was only going to be addressed after 2018.

Comments (8)

Zimbabwe is full of leaders who are reactive,there were told about the water levels dropping in Kariba but nothing was put in place as a preventive measure, squables about solar tenders was left unattended, now their solution to the crisis is a tarrif hike, further burdening the very people the Gvt is supposed to protect, they dont really care about our welfare but their pockets first, all this MALADMINISTRATION of the economy under Robert Mugabe's watch, such CEOs are usually fired!!!!!!

kufarataonana - 27 October 2015

it was heartbreaking and so sad the whites colonised us,but when your own brother colonises you mmmmmmm how about that

kufarataonana - 27 October 2015

Firebrigade type of management under zanu pf GVT has killed the country big time. What does 2018 have to do with electrical power deficit.?we are in trouble.

X-MAN IV - 27 October 2015

Ok after stealing 2018 elections that is when you intend to work hard to bring back electircity. It is hard to beleeve you. Instead of looting you want to deliver to the electorate. Better keep quiet. Undenge. Are you paying you maintenance now.

Manyepo - 27 October 2015

ko nhai imi vakuru koZuva hamurione here we should have opted for Solar long back but our leaders were busy filling their pockets and marrying second wives and young wives.Mauraya nyika madofo imi

magamba - 28 October 2015

Can zanu pf stop fibbing. We are tired of these lies and they are not even ashamed of further telling us more lies. What plans do you have Undenge? Can you shut up and just quit. All of you! And to you Dailynews, what takes the paper so long to be on line? I am praying you are not going the zanu way

Bratee - 28 October 2015

Zanu PF ndovakomana vaya vanounganidza vanhu kuti ndinouya kunoroora , zuva rasvika hapana anouya .....yaa dzinonzi ndururani..munhu asinganzwe anotoda bhandi. zvemuromo zvaramba

gfb - 1 November 2015

1992 there was no rain and there was a drought but the water level at kariba never affected electricity distribution vanhu vaifa nezhara magetsi ariko...1990 turbines were 6 2015 they are still 6, saka development yacho iri papi nhai Zanu Pf?

truthteller - 2 November 2015

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.