HWANGE – Struggling utility ZESA said on Sunday it would immediately implement planned power outages of up to eight hours a day due to low power generation in Kariba and Hwange.
ZESA’s electricity distribution arm, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), did not specify the duration of the power outages.
“ZETDC experienced a power outage due to generation limitations at Hwange Power Station, limited imports and a dam wall rehabilitation program in Kariba which requires two generators to be shut down for 12 hours. The scheduled shutdown of the two blocks will then limit the performance of the Kariba Power Plant during these hours.
“The power outage is managed by load shedding to balance the available power and the connected load. As the utility makes every effort to improve generation capacity, customers are encouraged to save on available energy,” the company said in a statement.
Power outages alternate between evening rush hours and morning rush hours. ZESA said it would maintain power to critical infrastructure such as hospitals, water and sanitation facilities and winter wheat growers.
As of Friday, Zimbabwe was producing 1,196 megawatts (MW) against national demand of around 1,500 MW, according to the Zimbabwe Power Company.
The Kariba hydroelectric plant, with a nominal capacity of 920 MW, produced 809 MW, while the coal-fired Hwange plant injected 433 MW into the grid.
Munyati, Bulawayo and Harare produced 14 MW, 18 MW and 12 MW respectively.
Zimbabwe has experienced deep power cuts of up to 18 hours in the past due to drought and aging equipment at its power stations.
The government has contracted China’s Sinohydro to add two 300 MW units at Hwange, which are expected to be commissioned next year.
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