Zimbabwe warns of power cuts as dam levels fall, ageing plants stutter 

Source: Zimbabwe warns of power cuts as dam levels fall, ageing plants stutter – Reuters

Cooling towers are seen at a coal fired power station in Hwange, Zimbabwe September 28, 2015. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s state-owned power utility on Thursday warned it may ration electricity supplies as low water levels reduce output from its biggest hydro plant, while ageing coal-fired generators are shuttered or running at reduced capacity.

Power cuts would hit the mining sector — which contributes more than two thirds of Zimbabwe’s export earnings — hardest, adding to difficulties in a country already grappling with a lack of U.S. dollars, soaring prices and shortages of fuel, food and medicines.

The southern African nation, which experienced its worst power shortages in 2016 following a devastating drought, was producing 915 MW on Thursday against peak demand of 2,100 MW.

Kariba Power Station, which is already operating at half capacity, will reduce generation further to 358 MW from 542 MW, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) said in a statement, as a drought reduces water levels at the dam that feeds the plant.

As Zimbabwe enters its peak winter power demand season, ZETDC told companies and private households to reduce electricity consumption, especially during periods of high demand.

“In the event that this supply and demand equilibrium is not maintained, the power utility would have no choice but to curtail some loads to restore grid stability,” it said.

Some residents in the capital Harare reported that they had already been experiencing power cuts, known locally as load shedding, since the beginning of this week.

The utility said generation at Hwange, its biggest coal-fired station, as well as three smaller plants remained fragile due to the age of the facilities.

Kariba has a generating capacity of 1,050 MW after another 300 MW was added in 2017.


  • comment-avatar

    I thought you had plenty of water for the additional generators to be viable?

  • comment-avatar
    Cynical 3 years ago

    This is typical of the zanu-pf Govt. When it took over in 1980, everything was up and running. Instead of investing in maintenance and regular upgrading of facilities, all the top dogs plundered what they could, enriching themselves. This is the result.

  • comment-avatar
    B OWN 3 years ago

    All comments true BUT DO YOU WANT TO BE PART OF THE PROBLEM OR PART OF THE SOLUTION? POINTING FINGERS AND MALICIOUS TONGUES WILL NOT HELP TO MAKE THE SITUATION BETTER. Lets all try and be constructive in our comments. If you have any good ideas please let us hear them.

    • comment-avatar
      Golden 3 years ago

      What ideas? Who wants ideas? Since when? Zanu Pf cannot and will never ever build any country.

      We have them ideas for land reform through Rukuni Commission did they listen?

      Mugabe and Grace dined Chivayo not Strive, not any one of the top industrialists, pitching him as the solution to our energy needs, what did he deliver?

      Zanu was created to keep the African backward economically period.

  • comment-avatar
    Muromo 3 years ago

    Would you celebrate Chivayo being introduced as a business partner to your company?

    Well the Zanu Government paid him millions to deliver energy solutions to Zimbabwe. The so called President and his family even dined with him. Would you?

    Zanu and all their militia are a curse on the African