ZPC to ramp up power production

HARARE - Zimbabwe is expected to produce more electricity this year due to improved water levels at Kariba Dam, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) has said.

This comes as the country endured power cuts almost daily last year due to a devastating drought in 2015 that saw water levels declining by more than 42 percent.

However, ZPC managing director Noah Gwariro said his company was on track to start generating additional power supplies at its Kariba hydro plant in December 2017.

“The 2017 production target has been set at 7822,05GWh, representing a 15,38 percent increase from the 2016 output of 6779,16GWh. The increase is attributed to the 50 percent increase in water allocation at Kariba Power Station to 15 billion cubic meters for the year 2017,” he said.

Construction of two new generating units at the country’s biggest power plant to add 300 megawatts (MW) of capacity is nearly complete and the first 150 MW unit is expected to produce electricity by the end of this year.

“The Kariba South Extension Project is 79 percent complete and on course for the commissioning of unit 7 in December 2017,” Gwariro said.

Kariba is only producing 520 MW out of its capacity of 750 MW.

Peak power demand in Zimbabwe has fallen over the last decade to 1 600 MW from 2 200 MW.

Zimbabwe’s economy contracted by nearly half during a 1999-2008 recession, causing a decline in manufacturing and commercial agriculture production, sectors that are among the largest consumers of electricity.

Gwariro also indicated that ZPC’s Hwange Power Station’s Unit 6 was currently undergoing a major overhaul exercise which is expected to return to service in August this year.

“Unit 3 major overhaul at Hwange will be expedited in the last quarter of 2017.  Annual maintenance will also be conducted at all stations as per statutory requirement.

“We will also continue to engage our suppliers in order to ensure constant supply of our key resources,” he added.

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