Power cuts to end in few days

Fairness Moyana in Hwange
GOVERNMENT has assured the nation that power supplies would improve in the coming days as interventions are being implemented to restore normal generation at Hwange Thermal Power Station.

The country is facing power outages as a result of depressed generation mainly at Hwange due to ageing equipment that is overdue for service. Power utility, Zesa is producing 270 megawatts (MW) from Hwange and 890MW from Kariba hydro. An average of 200MW is imports against a national demand of 2 200MW.

Speaking on the sidelines of a tour of the Hwange units 7 and 8 expansion project here yesterday, Energy and Power Development Minister, Soda Zhemu, said engineers at Hwange Power Station were working towards bringing unit 5 online with repairs having been completed.

“Three units are currently in service and doing between 260 and 270MW, which is actually inadequate considering the power demands in the country. So far, we are expecting unit 5 to be back on service anytime once diesel is made available, which we heard is on its way,” he said.

“In the next 2-3 days unit 5 will be back to service. Once that unit is back online then the current power outages will be a thing of the past. Yes, we know there is work going on at units 3 and 6 and arrangements to have the experts coming back into the country.”

The minister expressed hope that once units 3 and 6 were brought into service by next month and December, the country will meet its power requirements for the productive sector and household consumers.

He said delays on progress at units 7 and 8 expansion project as well as the existing units was due to the outbreak of Covid-19, which caused lockdowns that affected foreign travel by engineers after the December holiday.

“We have also taken note of the challenges the power utility is facing in terms of breakdowns. Unit 5 is supposed to be taken back into service anytime,” said the minister.

He said the ministry has made recommendations for the energy company to invest in modern technology and use of coking-gas to firing and stabilisation of generators to augment the expensive fuel.

Briefing the minister, Zimbabwe Power Company acting general manager, Engineer Tom Chuma said refurbishment on unit 5 was complete and was awaiting delivery of diesel to start up the generators for it to be back online.

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