Source: Chasi hits the ground running | The Herald May 20, 2019
Walter Nyamukondiwa Kariba Bureau
NEWLY-appointed Energy and Power Development Minister Advocate Fortune Chasi has hit the ground running, and is already exploring a number of options including electricity trade-offs with Mozambique to address local electricity shortages.
The trade-off proposition seeks to leverage on abundant water in the Cahora Bassa Basin following Cyclone Idai, amid fears that the continued discharge of large volumes of water during generation at Kariba South and North power stations was causing flooding.
Coupled with prioritisation of demand side management, Minister Chasi said the country would significantly reduce the electricity import bill in the wake of depressed supply from Kariba and Hwange, Munyati, Bulawayo and Harare thermal power stations.
“We need to understand the source of the problem that our counterparts in Mozambique are facing as a result of Cyclone Idai in the generation side of electricity,” said Minister Chasi.
“We do have a responsibility to work with them and try and help with this particular problem.
“But we also have a need as Zimbabwe for electricity so we are going to be engaging and I am told that our officials are going to be meeting soon.”
Minister Chasi, who was on a tour of Kariba South Power Station, said the Government would engage Mozambican officials to thrash out a mutually beneficial arrangement.
He undertook the tour to understand the issues causing load-shedding with a view to proffering possible solutions.
Minister Chasi said a number of options have been discussed, which are aimed at ensuring the country has enough electricity for domestic and industrial use.
“There are things which Government can do and there are also things that consumers can also do. There is need for intervention on the generation side and also serious intervention on the consumption side,” he said.
Some measures being explored to cut electricity usage include introducing prepaid electricity meters on Government complexes and assessment of usage to minimise load shedding.
Briefing Minister Chasi at Kariba North Power Station, Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) chief executive Engineer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said the proposal was being explored to benefit the two countries.
“We should sit down and agree that if there is need for another utility to shutdown then the other utility can supply electricity not in terms of money, but to also reciprocate over a period,” said Eng Munodawafa.
“We discussed and we have a committee to look into the issue. As we speak, we have already written to HCB (Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa of Mozambique) that ‘can you supply a bit of energy to ZESA and Zesco (Zambia’s power utility) on that agreed position’.”
Eng Munodawafa said a trade-off arrangement was more desirable than the inclination to monetise the transaction by power utilities.
He said discussions were expected to be conducted by the end of May with a clear position on how much HCB would supply ZESA and Zesco.
“If we agree on that, there will be some mitigation. For us (ZRA) maybe they can give 500MW which can be shared between the two utilities.
“We have already in principle agreed with the two utilities on that arrangement,” said Eng Munodawafa.
ZRA, a corporation jointly and equally owned by the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe responsible for operating and maintaining the Kariba Dam, has reduced available water for power generation from 38 million cubic litres to 34 million cubic litres that are shared equally to produce 358MW of power on each side.