HWANGE MAINTENANCE LEADS TO INCREASE IN LOAD SHEDDING

Milicent Chasinda

ZESA has announced that it is experiencing a reduction in power generation due to technical faults at Hwange Power Station.

In a statement, the power utility said as a result, there will be an increase in load-shedding.

It also informed stakeholders that Hwange Unit 7 will undergo necessary Class C Maintenance, which will require the unit to be offline for 30 days, which is a statutory procedure that requires it to be taken off the grid after running for a defined period.

The maintenance work is expected to be completed within the next month, and ZESA assured customers that it is doing everything in its power to minimise the impact of load shedding.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) has defended its decision to increase electricity tariffs to US2 cents/kWh, citing the need for maintenance, procurement of power and the costs of loan repayments.

ZERA board chairperson, David Madzikanda, said the country couldn’t afford to default on loan payments, and added that ongoing operations would be facilitated by the tariff increase.

Madzikanda said the new tariffs would increase ZETDC’s capacity to import power from neighbouring countries.

“We have other operations which include maintenance costs and operations costs that we need to meet.

“There is a need to be able to procure power from neighbouring countries if need be and we must be in a financial position to do that.

“Those are the reasons why it has been fundamentally important for us to approve the tariff adjustment.

“We looked at the experience that the country went through in December and January this year as far as interruption and supply is concerned, and that needs to be minimised as much as possible.

“Part of the minimisation is for the ZETDC to be in a position to import power.

“Whatever power is available in the region be it expensive, it’s better than the alternative of not having power supply.”

He added:

“With these tariff adjustments, we hope that ZETDC will be in that position to be able to complement our internal capacity with resources that are available.

“We have the Southern African Power Pool, where the country is interconnected with Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa.

“We have an excess of 300 000 domestic customers who have not been connected.

“We have quite a number of mining loads whose obligation must be met,” said Madzikanda.

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