Business laments looming power crisis

via Business laments looming power crisis – New Zimbabwe 29/08/2015

BUSINESS lobby groups have lamented the looming power crisis if the country’s biggest electricity producer Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) goes ahead with a proposed shutdown of hydro-electricity plant Kariba Power Station.

ZPC on Thursday warned that low water levels in Lake Kariba would force a reduction in power output by almost 50 percent.

The lake level at the end of July was 480.81 metres above sea level. This was 1.05 percent, or some five metres, below the lake level for the same period in 2014, which was at 485.91 metres above sea level, ZPC said.

It had been determined that continuing current levels of power generation would result in the lake falling below the minimum draw-down level of 475.5 metres before the onset of the next rainy season, hopefully in November 2015, with a possible shutdown of the station for two months.

ZPC and Zambia’s Zesco share power generation equally.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Busisa Moyo told African News Agency on Friday the shutdown proposal was worrying as it would affect production.

“We are concerned because the proposal does not state when. We are moving towards the festive season where production and consumption is very high,” Moyo said.

“We are concerned by the timing if it happens before the end of the year. We definitely have to protect the few remaining jobs.

“If they shut down in the low production and consumption season between January and February it makes sense, but not November and December.”

Business had been between 15 and 30 percent on volumes and companies were trying to recover from the depressed situation.

Economist John Robertson said the business sector had already been badly affected by previous events and the few survivors Zimbabwe still had would struggle even more to survive.

“We are going to see whether the rationing process is going to favour the productive sector as compared to households and [the] commercial sector.

“But all this acts in uncertainty and makes it absolutely certain that we will not get new investors until the problem of power is solved,” Robertson said.

The power situation would only improve in 2018 when a new power station being built near Binga came into operation.

Robertson forecast another drought in the coming years, meaning Lake Kariba might again fail to rise to the levels needed to end power cuts anytime soon.

It looked gloomy for Zimbabwe in the next two years, which would be punctuated by record-breaking imports, as agriculture would be the worst hit.

“For the next two years, it looks like we have a long and clearly difficult period [in] which I think the few remaining manufacturing companies may fail and I think it is going to be very serious indeed,” he said.

In a mid-year fiscal policy review, finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the Kariba South Hydro Power Station extension remained on course for completion in 2018 and to date a total of US101.8 million had been spent on the project.

Rehabilitation of Kariba Dam, separate from plant extensions, fell under the auspices of the multinational Kariba Dam Rehabilitation Project, and US295 million had been spent through a combination of grants and loans to Zimbabwe and Zambia.

However, electricity and water, Chinamasa said, would shrink by about 4.2 percent this year after an initial 2.5 percent sectorial growth.

The Zambezi River Authority has rerun the simulation to determine the remaining allocation and recommended level of generation of each utility in future to 305MW for Kariba North (Zambia) and 475MW for Kariba South (Zimbabwe).

At peak consumption, Zimbabwe requires about 2200MW.


  • comment-avatar

    Mugabe and Zanu are indead weapons of mass destruction.

    And I doubt many Zanoids have the remotest idea how electricity is generated