Sunday Mail Correspondent
POWER generation at the Hwange Power Station is set to double to 400MW this month when three units, which were undergoing extensive repairs, return to service.
Units 2, 3 and 6, which had been offline for months, are expected to start generating power soon. Unit 1 is out of service after it caught fire last month, with investigations to ascertain the cause and extent of damage under way.
Currently, only units 4 and 5 are in service and generating around 200MW of power.
ZESA Holdings’ acting group stakeholder relations manager Ms Prisca Utete said the three units, which were undergoing repairs, will be brought to service after going through requisite technical tests.
“Owing to the technical nature of our operations, it is necessary that all the relevant checks and balances be carried out before generation can resume.” Said Ms Utete.
“Hwange Power Station is currently running with two units in service, Units 4 and 5, sending out an average of 220MW.
“Full load will only be attained when Units 1, 2, 3 and 6 all return to service,” said Ms Utete.
Repairs to Unit 2, which tripped last month, have been completed she said.
The unit, however, can only start generating power after its boiler, which was damaged during the recent fire incident, is repaired.
Unit 3, she said, is expected to be commercially available this week after undergoing a major overhaul since 2019.
Unit 6, which was down since January, is expected to be up before the end of this month.
She said the unit’s hydrogen cooler requires re-tubing. Ms Utete said the power utility continues to draw power through the Southern African Power Pool (SAAP) to offset potential power shortages.
“The power utility has managed to strategically ensure that there is adequate supply of electricity to all sectors of the economy, including domestic customers with minimal or no load shedding. ZESA also enjoys cordial relations with its external suppliers of power such that local generation is always supplemented by power imports from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP).”
She said Zesa was facing financial challenges, resulting in delayed payments to suppliers and service providers.
Hwange Power Station is the country’s largest thermal power producer with an installed capacity of 920MW. The power plant is currently under expansion by China’s Sinohydro, which will add 600 megawatts into the national grid next year.