Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
POWER utility Zesa Holdings is developing load-shedding schedules which will be availed to all customers through different media platforms.
Responding to questions from Sunday News, Zesa acting spokesperson Ms Prisca Utete said load-shedding schedules were being developed and will soon be availed to the customers.
“Load-shedding schedules are being developed and will be availed to all customers through various media platforms.
“The supply challenges that are being faced are as a result of two units having been taken out at Kariba South Hydro Power Station, one on a 42-day statutory annual maintenance with effect from 13 August 2021 and the other having been taken out to facilitate for the dam wall maintenance,” said Ms Utete.
She said another unit at Hwange Thermal Power Station has also been taken out on a 10-day statutory annual maintenance. Ms Utete said the scheduled maintenance programmes have resulted in power supply constraints with the power utility augmenting the available power supplies with other alternative sources.
“Zesa is augmenting the available power supplies with other alternative sources that include imports to minimize the effects of load-shedding. Consumers are advised to use the available power sparingly.”
She said the power utility was also in the process of addressing challenges associated with delays in fault recovery.
Ms Utete said such delays were being caused by the general shortage of spares and vehicles.
“Zesa has taken a deliberate strategic intervention of re-equipping the business through replenishing such materials and equipment, including operational motor vehicles to expedite the response rate of the power utility to customer needs,” she said.
Ms Utete said so far, more than 300 operational motor vehicles have been availed to all the regions of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC). Ms Utete said they remained positive and hopeful that once the target of the required number of such vehicles has been reached, such delays in response to faults will be solved.
In terms of theft and vandalism, she said: “The high prevalence rate of electrical faults in Bulawayo and most parts of the country are being caused by theft and vandalism that is accounting for more than 70 percent of unplanned power rages.”
Ms Utete said consumers are advised to avoid interfering with the electricity infrastructure in the interest of continued service delivery as well as their safety.
She said theft and vandalism have also retarded the growth of the national electricity grid as materials and equipment meant for new connections ends up being utilised for replacement purposes.
Energy and Power Development Minister Soda Zhemu said seasonal increase in demand for electricity coupled with subdued imports from South Africa which was also facing power generation challenges was also a major contributor.
He, however, said the country has been making encouraging strides to increase internal power generation.
“There are developments happening at the Hwange Power Station. We are expanding an additional of two more units. And on completion we will be expecting around 600MW.
‘‘Government has also put together funds to rehabilitate existing units at power stations throughout the country. Once the rehabilitation and expansion at Hwange are finished, the issue of power cuts would be a thing of the past.”
According to the Zimbabwe Power Company’s website update on Friday generation statistics showed that Munyati was on 15MW, Bulawayo 0 MW, Harare 11MW, Kariba 891MW, Hwange 386MW and the total being 1 303MW, while the country’s demand is estimated to be at least 2 400MW.