Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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500 jobs on the line as Sable threatens closure

500 jobs on the line as Sable threatens closure

Midlands Correspondent
THE country’s sole Ammonium Nitrate (AN) fertiliser manufacturer, Sable Chemicals, will on Sunday shut down following the announcement by Energy and Power Development Minister, Dr Samuel Undenge on Tuesday that 40 Megawatts it has been receiving will be diverted to residential areas.

The firm claims the closure will render over 500 people jobless.

Addressing parliamentarians on Tuesday, Minister Undenge said Government would employ drastic measures that include directing mining companies to load shed operations that would save the country about 25 Megawatts (MW).

The Kwekwe-based company owes Zesa about $150 million.

Sable Chemicals chief executive officer, Mr Jack Murehwa, said the company would on Sunday suspend operations, shedding off 500 jobs in the process.

“We have read what the minister said through the Press. He is the minister and what he says is policy and therefore we wait to see what the next course of action is. What this therefore means is that if power supplies are cut, we will stop manufacturing fertiliser and the 500 people we are employing will become jobless because we have no alternative source of power. Following the Minister’s announcement, we are shutting down on Sunday,” he said.

Mr Murehwa, however, said the company, a joint venture between Chemplex Corporation and TA Holdings’ feasibility studies of adopting new technology, which would use Coal Bed Methane (CBM) had been successfully completed.


CBM is a method of extracting methane from a coal deposit through a process called steam reforming.

Methane absorbed into a solid coal matrix, will be released if the coal seam is depressurised and hydrogen will be extracted.

CBM, which will generate electricity once commissioned, will be fed in the national grid unlike the current electrolysis plant, which was set up in 1972 that has become expensive to run due antiquated machinery.

Mr Murehwa said the company was now looking for funding, believed to be around $600 million to construct a pipeline to transport gas from Lupane gas fields to Sable Chemicals plant near Kwekwe.

When Sable Chemicals is operating at full capacity it requires 115 MW to produce 240 000 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate Fertiliser per year.

This year, the company was geared towards producing 100 000 tonnes ahead of the summer cropping season.

The firm was in September 2009, forced to suspend operations as it could not pay for the high electricity tariffs charged by ZESA.

Government had to intervene by appointing a special cabinet committee to map the way forward.

Production resumed two months later after an internal arrangement between the Government and ZESA.

The country has during the past few years, been forced to import fertiliser as the local companies were failing to meet demand.

The low yields recorded by farmers over the same period were largely as a result of either shortage of the fertiliser or late delivery of the commodity to farmers.

Power Cuts Affect Tobacco Planting

Power Cuts Affect Tobacco Planting

Tabitha Mutenga 1 Oct 2015

The country is generating 984MW against daily demand of 2 000MW

POOR planning continues to undermine productivity in the agricultural sector, and the current country-wide power cuts have exacerbated the situation, negatively affecting transplanting of the 2015/2016 tobacco crop.
Tobacco farmers who plant the irrigated crop from the beginning of September have been severely affected by the massive power cuts that extend for up to 16 hours per day.
This is expected to reduce the area planted and increase production costs as farmers resort to generators to irrigate the crop.
ZESA Holdings, last week published a tight load-shedding schedule that would see most parts of the country go without power between 4am and 10pm every day.
The blackouts have been blamed on breakdowns and repairs at Hwange Power Station and the low water levels at Kariba Power Station.
The generation report from ZESA Holdings indicate that Hwange is now generating 414MW, Kariba 500MW, Harare Power Station 30MW, Munyati 22MW and Bulawayo 18MW.
This means the country is generating 984MW against daily demand of 2 000MW.
The power cuts not only affected the transplanting of the tobacco crop, but they also had adverse effects on the wheat crop that was ready for harvest.
“This winter, for farmers who planted wheat, it was not easy but some of us managed to put a crop on the ground and the season was progressing well and load shedding had become a thing of the past and we were happy. All of a sudden when the crop was almost ready for harvesting, power cuts started and farmers had no option but to watch as the quality and the quantity of the crop was affected because of inadequate water supply,” the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union vice president, Berean Mukwende said.
For a long time, the winter wheat crop has experienced numerous challenges which affected viability. These included intermittent power supplies, rising production costs and reluctance by financial institutions to fund production.
“The power cuts will definitely affect production in terms of agronomy, production and output. Farmers will be forced to reduce area planted considering the fact that the rainfall season is expected to start in December, meaning tobacco farmers will need to continue irrigating the crop and without adequate power supply some farmers may be forced to replant the crop,” Mukwende added.
Although farmers have previously negotiated for dedicated lines under the power supply support scheme especially for wheat and for tobacco growing areas, farmers have always argued that inadequate power supply was negatively affecting the winter crop.
Despite having adequate water to irrigate two million hectares, without adequate power supply, it would be impossible to take advantage of the country’s full irrigation potential to boost productivity.
Most of the country’s dams remain full and irrigation systems lie idle due to poor maintenance and up keep of equipment and of the 220 000 hectares installed irrigation, 153 000 hectares is functional.
Agricultural economist, Peter Gambara, said farmers needed to be innovative when transplanting their tobacco crop to avoid losses.
“The continued load shedding will affect the transplanting of tobacco. Farmers will have to be innovative by making sure they have water carts and a small engine to pump water into the water carts. They then use that for transplanting purposes whereby they apply water to the planting hole.
“They would then hope that they get electricity soon after transplanting so that they can then switch on the irrigation pumps and do more comprehensive irrigation of the planted crop. Otherwise there will be a lot of die backs of the transplanted crop,” he said.
As tobacco contract sales continue after 129 days of marketing, 199 million kilogrammes of tobacco valued at US$586 million had been sold at an average price of US$2,95 per kg.
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Zesa’s poor planning prompted power cuts

Zesa’s poor planning prompted power cuts

LACK of proper planning and poor management of the Kariba Dam has resulted in the current powercuts as both Zambia’s power utility, Zambia Electricity Supply Company (Zesco) and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, through its subsidiary Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), burst their water usage ceiling by huge volumes resulting in an unprecedented decline of water levels in the dam.


Kudzai Kuwaza

The Zimbabwe Electricity and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has introduced a schedule of massive power cuts stretching up to 18 hours a day, attributing this development to low water levels at Kariba Dam, generation constraints at Hwange Power Station and limited imports. There are chances that ZETDC may introduce longer load-shedding hours if the crisis persists.

“Previously published winter load-shedding schedules have been reviewed in line with the increased shortfalls owing to the depressed generation levels at Kariba Power Station. In the event of further deterioration of the current available power supply, the level and duration of load- shedding may go beyond the advertising schedules,” ZETDC said in a statement.

The power utility has also blamed weather patterns, especially drought, as well as introducing ridiculous and unusual methods of preserving power supply, which includes the ban on electric geysers.

However, in a report titled Kariba Dam and power crisis: The cost of poor management, Greg Mills, the head of the Johannesburg-based Brenthurst Foundation, which has a global network of top analysts, says that excessive use of water by both Zesco and ZPC is the reason for the current major power crisis in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Mills outlines that Zimbabwe has been heavily relying on Kariba for power generation because of its failure to rehabilitate its thermal power stations, while Zambia has also been relying on Kariba to meet the growing demand for electricity, largely because of the growth of its economy.

“Zimbabwe’s power demand is some 2 200MW (megawatts). Its supply is usually around two-thirds of this. In April 2015, for example, Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati stations were producing a combined output of 78MW against a capacity of 265MW. With problems afflicting Hwange Thermal Station, with an installed capacity of 920MW, pressure for continued production has been placed on Kariba to deliver close to its 750MW,” Mills explains in his report.

“Demand for electricity has grown very rapidly in Zambia as new customers have been connected to the grid. These have included residential, commercial, agricultural, industrial, and mining customers. Demand has increased from around 1 600MW in 2008 to about 2 200MW in 2015.”

He says as a result of the growing demand for electricity, both Zesco and ZPC, overstretched the limits of the water they draw from Kariba Dam.

“Kariba has been used to meet this growing demand, requiring more water to drive the turbines, pushing the volume of water use for generation to levels unsustainable by regular annual rainfall and inflows. Both Zesco and ZPC have been using more water than they are supposed to during 2015,” he says.

“Following the completion of the 360MW Kariba North Bank Expansion project in 2013/2014, Zesco has been generating a lot more electricity at Kariba than in previous years. The new turbines are being run much more than they were originally intended to. It seems that Zesco has been operating the intended peaking units much more than the planned three to four hours a day. This means they’ve needed to use more water, resulting in low reservoir level.”

Mills says as a result of the imprudent use of water in the Kariba Dam by both Zesco and ZPC, which was against stipulations by the regulator, Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), power cuts, which were supposed to be minimal, will be prolonged and severe.

He also says although ZRA reduced water allocations to Zesco and ZPC in March, the companies failed to comply with the order, exacerbating the situation.

“ZRA reduced the water allocations for Zesco and ZPC by 12% in March 2015. Instead of reducing their water use, both Zesco and ZPC substantially increased the amount of water used. Between March and June 2015, Zesco overused its water allocation by 39%, while ZPC overused by 16%,” he says.

“If the utilities complied with the allocations from ZRA, there would have been some load-shedding required beginning in March this year, but it would have been minor in comparison with current cuts. This would also have provided more time to source electricity imports and pursue other mitigation strategies prior to the situation becoming a crisis.”

Latest information gleaned from ZRA website this week confirms that high turbine outflows contributed to the low water levels in Kariba Dam, hence current power outages.

“The Kariba Lake was created and designed to operate between levels 475,50m and 488,50m with 0,70m freeboard at all times,” ZRA says on its website. 

“The Lake levels continued dropping during the week under review. This is a result of low lake inflows coupled with high turbine outflows. The lake levels closed the week at 479,53m on 20th September 2015, which is 5,35m lower than the level recorded last year on the same date.”

Zambezi, on which Kariba Dam is built, is southern Africa’s longest trans-boundary river. It rises at 1 585 metres above sea level in north-western Zambia. The river flows for some 2 700km through plains, gorges, rapids and cataracts before spreading out in deltoid form as it enters the Indian Ocean in the east coast of Mozambique. It carries more than 75% of the mean annual runoff of the region’s interior, and drains more than 40% of the landmass.

The Zambezi River Basin is the fourth largest riven basin of Africa, after the Congo, the Nile and the Niger basins. The basin covers 1,3 million square kilometres spread over eight countries, namely Zambia (40,7%), Angola (18,2%), Zimbabwe (18), Mozambique (11,4%), Malawi (7,7%), Botswana (2,8%), Tanzania (2) and Namibia (1,2%). Almost 33% of the total population of the riparian countries lives in the basin.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Busisa Moyo said there is an urgent need to shake-up Zesa to address the worsening power crisis. Moyo said lack of planning by Zesa officials has exacerbated the power problems.

“Zesa needs to be restructured or the country will be paralysed. It’s time to act now,” Moyo said.

“Their current structure is too unwieldy and costly and there is a lack of transparency and lack of wide consultation. The water levels at Kariba should have been foreseen before opening the floodgates last year.”

Economist John Robertson said although the country has been unlucky in terms of rainfall, the failure to rehabilitate power infrastructure has worsened the power situation considerably.

“If Hwange Power Station was working properly this would have reduced load-shedding considerably,” he said.

Robertson said the lack of proper maintenance of the various power stations as well the failure to capacitate the National Railways of Zimbabwe has compounded the problem of prolonged load-shedding.

He said Zesa should have put in place contingency plans to help ameliorate the power crisis which is further damaging the country’s economy already hard hit by a plethora of challenges, among them, a crippling liquidity crunch, low capacity utilisation, company closures and massive job losses .

According to latest figures published on the ZPC website as of Wednesday, Hwange is currently generating 478 Megawatts (MW), Kariba 445 MW, Harare Power Station 30MW, Munyati 27MW and Bulawayo 18MW, translating to a mere 998MW for the whole country against a local total demand of 2 200MW.

ZETDC 2015 Summer Load Shedding Programmes

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60 Percent Of Zimbabweans Live In The Dark – Govt

60 Percent Of Zimbabweans Live In The Dark – Govt

29 Sep 2015
Candle in Dark Put Out preview image

Towns and cities are experiencing up to 18 hours of load shedding per day as ZESA Holdings grapples to meet demand.

THE Zimbabwe government on Tuesday said that more than 60 percent of the country’s 13 million people have no access to electricity as the country struggles to meet demand, accelerating deforestation and woodland degradation.

Energy ministry Permanent Secretary Partson Mbiriri told delegates attending commemorations of the Clean Energy Week in the capital that most people in the country were still using traditional sources of energy such as firewood for cooking.

“A recent survey by the Institute of Environmental Studies (IES) of the University of Zimbabwe, shows that of the 13,1 million in Zimbabwe about eight million or 60 percent have no access to electricity,” said Mbiriri.

The southern African country is in the throes of biting electricity shortages causing rolling power cuts and produces about 1,000 megawatts of electricity daily, less than half its peak demand, forcing local industries to use costly diesel generators to keep operations running while households resort to firewood.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Zimbabwe lost an annual average of 327,000 hectares of forests between 1990 and 2010 and Mbiriri said the environmental impact could be devastating.

“We need to look for innovative solution to help the bulk of the population residing in rural areas access modern forms of energy. We cannot continue to think that it is normal for the bulk of the population to continue using firewood, more so when our forests are dwindling,” he said.

Mbiriri noted that access to modern forms of energy could unlock a lot of potential in rural areas and other areas deprived of such energy.

Last week, the power utility ZESA Holdings published a load shedding schedule showing that all towns and cities will experience up 18 hours per day as it grapples to meet demand.

Recently, Zesa announced that Hwange thermal power station would undergo maintenance until October 7, while Kariba, which has cut back on generation due to low water levels, would see its maintenance stretch to January 28, 2016. -The Source

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Harness solar, alternative energy sources

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Harness solar, alternative energy sources

SOLARZimbabwe has been lax for decades to push policies that will significantly cut electricity demand by households and businesses while allowing ever growing standards of living and economic expansion, simply by using technology to make far better use of electricity and making far more use of one ofZimbabwe’s most abundant natural resources — sunlight.

Such policies are necessary on two main grounds: the cost of adding power stations and the need to minimise environmental damage, especially the need to minimise the emission of greenhouse gases.

So the recent ban on the import or manufacture of filament light bulbs, more than five years after lobbying started for such a policy, and now the proposed regulations banning electric geysers, more than 30 years after the old Solar Energy Society of Zimbabwe pressed such a programme, are welcome.

But while displaying the zeal of the recently converted, the Ministry of Energy and Power Development needs to ensure that changes do not increase problems. Sometimes this will require very careful thought when drafting new regulations.

The ban on filament lamp bulbs was simple. Existing stocks can be sold off and existing bulbs used until they fail. But within a year almost all will be gone and Zimbabwe will be using about 100MW less in the evenings, when there is peak demand of lighting than it would have been using without the technology change.

Those who resisted change will find that while energy saving bulbs are slightly pricier, the savings in electricity charges pay for the higher capital cost in a month.

The switch to solar geysers is not quite so simple. The first problem is that pure solar water heating, while better than nothing, tends to be inadequate on cold cloudy days, the exact time most people want more hot water. So the regulations should allow auxiliary electric heating. This is built in on the better solar heaters now on sale.


Regulations can ensure that the solar part of the geysers are kept in repair and that the electrical element only switches on when water temperatures are very low, or controlled by time-switches to work only between 10pm and 4am, so the auxiliary electrical heating remains auxiliary, not primary.

The second problem is the cost of retrofitting older houses and flats. Installing on new houses is not a problem and architects, planners and developers can ensure that roofs are adequate to support the load, roof pitches are optimised and the buildings are properly aligned.

The extra cost is low and with present electricity prices will pay for itself within a year or two. In any case the cost of a solar water heater is a minuscule fraction of a new building.

Retrofitting is more costly, especially if there are structural changes.

Many families will find the initial capital cost unaffordable, although in the end they will benefit financially as their power bills drop. A loan scheme will be needed, and an obvious way would be to have repayments through the pre-paid Zesa system and these set at a rate that keeps bills roughly the same, with the savings on the electricity cost being used to pay back the loan.

The ministry can go further. Air conditioning, for example, is becoming more common and more popular. Ruling that this must be powered by solar cells would make sense, and unlike water heating, no auxiliary electric power would be needed since the demand for electricity by a conditioner is aligned to the amount of sunlight.

Industrialists can make significant savings with modern control systems and if these cannot be made economically in Zimbabwe, then it should be imported duty free.

More use could be made of variable pricing, so processes that use a lot of power that can be moved to midnight rather than 8am are so moved.

The Ministry is now serious, but also needs to examine the financial and other impediments to its new policies as it moves rapidly to far more efficient use of electricity by consumers and far more use of solar and other alternatives.

$10bn needed for power plants

$10bn needed for power plants

Gloria Magombo

Gloria Magombo

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
About 13 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) that were licensed, some of them five years ago, to construct power plants worth about $10 billion, are failing to raise the required capital, Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) chief executive Engineer Gloria Magombo disclosed yesterday.

ZERA has licensed 21 IPPs since 2010, with eight of them — predominantly small plants — operational, while mega plants with the proposed combined capacity of about 4 000 megawatts at the first phase are still to take-off.

On completion, all the licensed IPPs are expected to generate about 6 000MW, that is likely to see Zimbabwe exporting excess energy.

Zimbabwe is facing a power crisis due to low water levels at Kariba Dam and dilapidated power generation equipment at Hwange Thermal Power Station that constantly needs repairs.

Electricity is one of the critical economic enablers at a time when the country’s total generation capacity is about 1 300MW against a peak demand of about 2 500MW.

To close the power gap, the Government allowed private companies to construct power stations whose electricity was to be added to the national grid.

But Eng Magombo yesterday said lack of funding stalled all the mega power projects.

“The conditions of the licences require that all licensees should submit quarterly reports to ZERA which help in tracking progress on the projects,” she said.

“Total funding for all these projects amounts to over $10 billion. The power projects are funded mainly through debt financing which constitutes about 70-85 percent of the total project costs.

“The equity funding is difficult to secure given the liquidity situation in the country. The average cost of a project is about $2.5 to $3 million per MW.”

She added: “Currently access to long-term debt funding (15 to 20 years) with low interest rates which is suitable for such projects is a challenge. Power projects require funding to take them to bankability stage that will enable them to secure funding for development of the projects.

“Project preparation funding is equally difficult to secure, especially in the local market. Some regional banks are now assisting with project preparation funding to complete bankable feasibility studies and EIAs.”


Eng Magombo said some of the reasons huge projects were failing to take-off were as a result of local conditions which IPPs raised at the IPP Indaba in June this year.

“ZERA held the first IPP Indaba on June 3, 2015 where IPPs advised that progress on the projects was being hampered by among other things, lack of a clear IPP policy, high charges for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIAs) by the Environmental Management Agency, high water rates for projects to be developed on dams, offtaker credit risk that is Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company , lack of access to long term funding and the need for government guarantees to be issued to securitise external loans for the power projects.

“These issues were communicated to the relevant or responsible Ministries and public agencies and are being addressed. The banks also highlighted the major weakness of most IPPs projects which did not have comprehensive feasibility studies hence failed to pass due diligence audits,” said Eng Magombo.

She said the IPPs were licensed on the basis of letters of intent from prospective financiers who wanted a bankable feasibility study.

Eng Magombo said one of the projects by Eunafrica that was supposed to generate about 120MW in Harare was cancelled about two years ago for lack of progress.

She said licensed power projects including Government owned were at different stages at the first phase with Essar Hwange Power Plant (600MW), Geobase Gwanda Solar (150MW), Great Zimbabwe Hydro (5MW), Manako Power (2.5MW), Yellow Africa (50MW), H.T.Gen (3.3MW) and Plum Solar (5MW) at feasibility studies.

Lusulu (500MW), Southern Energy (660MW), Gairezi (30MW) and Sengwa Power Station (1200MW) are at the feasibility study of determining their bankability.

China Africa Sunlight Energy Gwayi Power Station (600MW) that was signed during President Mugabe’ State visit to China last year and Hwange Expansion Project (600MW) are at the funding stage while Kariba Expansion Project (300MW) , Kupinga Renewable Energy (1.6MW) , Pungwe C (2.72MW) are under construction.

Eng Magombo said the majority of small power plants were already operational since it took about 18 months to construct.

Some of those that are already operational include Border Timbers (0.750MW), Duru (0.26MW), Nyamingura (0.2MW), Pungwe A (0.65MW), Pungwe B (1.80MW), Hippo Valley Estates (33MW), Triangle Estates (45MW) and Green Fuel (4MW)

She said among them, the hydro-powered plants were also affected by low levels of water that affected the Kariba plant.

Some of these plants are powered from rivers, as such, Eng Magombo said they would immediately get to full capacity once it rains.

Tight power cuts schedule out

Tight power cuts schedule out

load sheddingAbigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
Zesa Holdings has published a tight load-shedding schedule that will see towns across the country without power between 4am and 10pm almost every day. The blackouts were blamed on breakdowns and repairs at power plants. Low water levels at Lake Kariba have worsened the situation at KaribaPower Station.

The load-shedding schedule published by Zesa Holdings’ subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company on Thursday, indicated that most of Harare’s suburbs will be without power between 4am and 10pm, while other towns will be affected between 5am and 10pm. The power utility said load-shedding will be worse if the power supply situation deteriorated.

“The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company is experiencing increased power shortfalls due to low water levels at Kariba Power Station, generation constraints at Hwange Power Station and limited imports,” said the power utility.

“The power shortfall is being managed through load-shedding in order to balance the power supply available and the demand. Previously published winter load-shedding schedules have been reviewed in line with the increased shortfalls owing to the depressed generation levels at Kariba Power Station.


“In the event of further deterioration of the current available power supply, the level and duration of load-shedding may go beyond the advertised schedules.”

The power utility urged consumers to use electricity sparingly.

“Every effort is being directed at improving the generation capacity to ensure that supply disruptions are kept at minimum levels,” it said.

According to the load-shedding schedule, in Harare northern and eastern suburbs like Alexandra Park, Athlone, Chisipite and Glen Lorne will not be having electricity from 4am to 10pm for three to four days in a week.

The same applies for southern suburbs like Hatfield, Waterfalls, Queensdale and Mbare.

A similar load-shedding schedule applies for suburbs like Mabvuku, Greendale, Mandara, Highlands, Westlea, Tynwald, Kuwadzana, Glen View, Budiriro and Warren Park.

The same tight load-shedding schedule will apply in Bulawayo where most suburbs will be without power between 4am and 10pm for the better part of the week.

For Gweru, Masvingo, Chinhoyi, Marondera and Mutare, the worst load-shedding will be on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5am to 10pm.

The same situation will apply to towns like Bindura, Kadoma, Kwekwe, Zvishavane, Shurugwi and Redcliff.

The load shedding schedule is designed in such a way that electricity is only available between midnight and early hours of the morning when most users are asleep.

IPPs must shape up or ship out!

IPPs must shape up or ship out!

Hwange Thermal Power Station is the biggest power plant in Zimbabwe with an installed capacity of 920MW, but of late the generators have continuously been in the intensive care

Hwange Thermal Power Station is the biggest power plant in Zimbabwe with an installed capacity of 920MW, but of late the generators have continuously been in the intensive care

Lloyd Gumbo Mr Speaker Sir
As things stand, there will be no significant economic growth to talk about as long as our electricity generation is dropping because power is a core variable to economic growth.


Mr Speaker Sir, it is a fact that our electricity generation is going down while demand is ever on the increase if one considers the massive construction going on and the rise of small-to-medium enterprises that analysts and Government argue could actually be the backbone of the economy.

It is against this backdrop that electricity should be adequate to cater for those needs if Zimbabwe is to register significant economic growth.

Yes, pronouncements have been made about the economy being on the mend but this has not found expression on the ground because there is too much power outages due to depressed supply against demand.

Often times, the general populace and those educated enough to know better, actually blame Zesa for load-shedding and the incessant problems affecting the power plants.

They forget that demand is way more than the country’s power generation capacity.

Some even blame them for the reduced power supply due to low water levels at Kariba, though they should take stick for the continued problems at Hwange Power Station where the generators are continuously in the intensive care and forever under repairs.

Mr Speaker Sir, Government acknowledged that it could not solely run the power sector and opened it up to Independent Power Producers so that they can reduce the funding burden on Government but what have they done to justify their existence?

Government, through the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority issued licences to a number of IPPs, some of them more than five years ago and they were supposed to have been commissioned by now but where are they?

Out of the 20 IPPs that were licensed, about 10, predominantly small ones in outlying areas, are operational while the huge projects that would significantly change the country’ electricity situation are yet to take shape.

For instance, the proposed giant Sengwa Power Station was licensed in September 2010 and was expected to generate about 2 400 megawatts by 2014.

Lusulu Power Plant to the north of Sengwa in Binga, licensed in October 2010, was also expected to generate 2 000 MW by the end of 2013 while Eunafric Power Station in Harare was expected to start generating 120 MW by 2012 after licensing in September 2010.

GeoBase Clean Energy was licensed in January 2011 to operate an initial 120 MW concentrated Solar Power System in Gwanda.


These huge projects have a proposed combined capacity of about 4 600 MW which would have met the country’s electricity demands to the extent of having excess for export.

But Mr Speaker Sir, we are now in the fifth year since these licences were issued but the projects are yet to materialise or at least take shape, meaning that all things being equal, if they were to start constructing by the beginning of next year, they will only be completed by 2020, which is 10 years after their licensing.

The general argument has been that these mega projects require more time due to high financial costs but how long shall we wait for them when the country urgently needs investment in a viable sector?

These licensees have already wasted the country’s time by holding on to licences when they knew that they did not have the money to fund the projects.

They have been looking for funds for the past five years without making any headway, so what guarantee do we have that they will ever get the money?

It goes without saying that some of the licensees are just holding on to the licences for speculative purposes.

Some are pushing Government to approve an increase in electricity tariffs for them to start constructing, in the process holding the country to ransom just because they have been licensed.

Mr Speaker Sir, the country cannot be held to ransom by companies whose books are not in order, so they should either shape up or ship out.

Serious investors are crying out for investment opportunities in this sector because it has guaranteed returns.

IPPs can play a crucial role in addressing power needs if they have the zeal to invest in this sector.

Given that the private sector is one of the biggest electricity users justifies the need for them to invest in the power generation than count on the highly depressed national power utility.

So if these licensees are not ready to build, then the licences must be withdrawn and given to those with capacity.

Mr Speaker Sir, the current power deficit in Zimbabwe due to depressed generation at Kariba and Hwange is testimony to how the country is hanging precariously due to lack of alternative sources of power besides the two.

It doesn’t matter how many economic blueprints Government comes up with, they will not succeed as long as the electricity situation is not addressed.

Any significant economic growth can only be spurred by a sound power sector.

It is without doubt that poor electricity supply is a major constraint to the country’s short-term and long-term developmental objectives given the impact it has had on the agricultural sector and industry.

While agriculture is considered the backbone of the economy, the same farmers have been unable to get electricity at a time their crops needed uninterrupted power supply.

Some companies have been forced to rely on generators, further increasing the cost of production and rendering their produce uncompetitive on the international market.

But all this could be addressed if IPPs played ball. If they are not forthcoming, then Government should withdraw their licences.

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POWER CRISIS…Electric geyser ban looms

POWER CRISIS…Electric geyser ban looms

gyserNqobile Tshili Chronicle Correspondent
THE government is crafting legislation to outlaw the use of electric geysers as it battles to reduce electricity consumption following crippling power outages that have hit the country.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Partson Mbiriri, yesterday said electric geysers consume 40 percent of domestic power and the government was working on ways to replace them with solar-powered geysers.

Mbiriri said a statutory instrument would soon be gazetted to make it a crime to use an electric geyser and an announcement would be made next week in that regard.

He said a deadline to phase out electric geysers would be set and people would be given time to replace their current gadgets with solar-powered geysers which are cheaper to manage and environmentally friendly.

Mbiriri told The Chronicle on the sidelines of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Expo in Bulawayo that the government blundered after it failed to invest money in electricity generation for a period of over 25 years, spawning the current power crisis where some households in cities such as Bulawayo and Harare are going for close to 24 hours without electricity.

“There will be a launch of this programme (banning of electric geysers) next week and details will be availed then. But certainly a decision has been taken because electric geysers use 40 percent of power in any household,” said Mbiriri.

“And of course we leave those electric geysers on even when we don’t need to use hot water. They are on 24/7. A decision has been made, rather than continuing to waste electricity, let’s substitute electric geysers with solar geysers.

“There will be an announcement sometime next week most probably on Wednesday when the Minister of Energy is going to launch the programme.”

He said a statutory instrument is still being crafted to make the ownership of electric geysers illegal.

“Once it has been legislated for, yes it will be illegal. But what will happen is there will be recognition of the amount of time that’s needed to roll out this programme. Whereas on paper it may seem illegal, it will be a question of how much time we give to the country to implement the programme. At a certain cut-off date it will be illegal,” Mbiriri said.

He said the government was in the process of rehabilitating the country’s four thermal power stations to address the electricity challenges.

Mbiriri said the nation should not expect immediate results from the power stations as they will take a year-and-a-half to start generating power.

The four are Harare, Bulawayo, Hwange and Munyati.

“For Bulawayo thermal power station, we’ve been offered $87 million by an Indian bank and $70 million for the Harare one. Each of the projects will take 18 months to be implemented,” he said.

Mbiriri could not confirm whether the money was readily available.

“The money has been offered officially. Its availability in the country is really neither here nor there. We go by the offer as made officially through Foreign Affairs and certainly we don’t consider that those offers can turn out to be something else,” he said.

Mbiriri said it was unfortunate that the country is only reacting to power problems after they had reached unprecedented levels.

“We didn’t invest in the energy sector, in the power sector for many years. The last phase of Hwange was done in 1987. From 1987 until last year when we had Kariba extension, we didn’t invest any money in additional power generation,” he said.

Mbiriri said the country should expect improved electricity generation in 2018 when projects that are being implemented are complete.

Apart from the Kariba South Hydro Power Station expansion project (300MW), which is currently underway, the proposed expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station unit 7 and 8 will add 600MW to the national grid.

The project will take 42 months to complete from date of financial closure, which is expected to be concluded in November this year.

Said Mbiriri: “We anticipate that come end of 2017, we should experience material improvement in power generation. In 2018 we should be generating enough to meet our domestic requirements”.

Mbiriri said the country was now saving about 200MW through the implementation of the cash power project.

He said low water levels at Kariba Dam had worsened the situation.

“There’s nothing dramatic you can do in response. In other words you can’t find a quick solution to reduced generation from Kariba or any other station,” he said.

Zimbabwe currently generates about 984MW against a national demand, at peak periods, estimated to be about 2,200MW.

Yesterday, the Zimbabwe Electricity and Distribution Company released a new load shedding schedule which will see households and commercial entities going for hours without electricity.

The power utility said the level and duration of load shedding may go beyond the advertised schedules.

“In order to assist in reducing the power demand, customers are encouraged to use the limited power sparingly by switching off all non-essential loads. Domestic geysers, swimming pool pumps and jacuzzis should be switched off at peak times for more areas to have power,” the company said.

“Large power users are being requested to reduce their demand during the morning and evening peak periods of 5AM to 10AM and 5PM to 10PM respectively.”

No electricity from 4AM till 10PM

No electricity from 4AM till 10PM

power cutAbigail Mawonde Harare Bureau
ZESA Holdings yesterday published a tight load shedding schedule that will see towns across the country without power between 4AM and 10PM almost on a daily basis. The country is experiencing serious blackouts blamed on breakdowns and repairs at the power plants.

Low water levels at Lake Kariba have worsened the situation at Kariba Power Station.

The load shedding schedule published by Zesa Holdings subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company, indicated that most of Harare’s suburbs will be without power between 4AM and 10PM, while other towns will be affected between 5AM and 10PM.

The power firm said the load shedding would be worse if the power supply situation deteriorated.

The punishing load shedding schedule was attributed to low water levels at Kariba, among other challenges facing the power company.

“The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company is experiencing increased power shortfalls due to low water levels at Kariba Power Station, generation constraints at Hwange Power Station and limited imports,” said the power company.

“The power shortfall is being managed through load shedding in order to balance the power supply available and the demand. Previously published winter load shedding schedules have been reviewed in line with the increased shortfalls owing to the depressed generation levels at Kariba Power Station.

“In the event of further deterioration of the current available power supply, the level and duration of load shedding may go beyond the advertised schedules.”

The power company urged users to be conservative in their electricity usage.

“Every effort is being directed at improving the generation capacity to ensure that supply disruptions are kept at minimum levels,” it said.

According to the load shedding schedule, in Harare, northern and eastern suburbs like Alexandra Park, Athlone, Chisipite and Glen Lorne will not be having electricity from 4AM to 10PM for three to four days in a week.

The same applies for southern suburbs like Hatfield, Waterfalls, Queensdale and Mbare.

A similar load shedding schedule applies for suburbs like Mabvuku, Greendale, Mandara, Highlands, Westlea, Tynwald, Kuwadzana, Glen View, Budiriro and Warren Park.

The same tight load shedding schedule will apply in Bulawayo where most suburbs will be without power between 4AM and 10PM for the better part of the week.

For Gweru, Masvingo Chinhoyi, Marondera and Mutare, the worst load shedding will be on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5AM to 10PM.

The same situation will apply to other towns like Bindura, Kadoma, Kwekwe, Zvishavane, Shurugwi and Redcliff.

The load shedding schedule is designed in such a way that electricity is only available between midnight and early hours of the morning when most users are asleep.

Zesa explains load-shedding

Zesa explains load-shedding

blackoutmAbigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent—
ELECTRICITY generation at the country’s power stations has plummeted to 984 megawatts against daily demand of 2 000MW, resulting in increased load-shedding and unscheduled power supply disruptions countrywide.Most suburbs are going for almost 24 hours without electricity in Harare, forcing residents to resort to alternative energy sources such as solar, LP gas and wood, while others use generators. Industry has also been badly hit by the power outages, leading to lost production time and reduced capacity utilisation.


The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority yesterday said it would release a detailed statement on the power situation today when The Herald sought an explanation as to what had caused increased and prolonged blackouts. A statement released by Zesa’s subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Power Company, on its website on Monday showed that all was not well at major power stations.


The generation status report indicated that Hwange was generating 414MW, Kariba 500MW, Harare Power Station 30MW, Munyati 22MW and Bulawayo 18MW, translating to a mere 984MW for the whole country. On generation constraints, the ZPC said at Hwange Power Station Unit 1 was taken out on 20 July for internal boiler leak repairs.

“Repair works were completed but on attempting to return the unit to service, the machine tripped on rotor earth fault protection. The rotor was dried and upon attempting to bring the unit back to service on August 16 2015 at 0144hrs, the rotor earth fault alarm came up again. As from August 19, 2015, the unit is now on statutory maintenance and excitation upgrade that will last for five weeks,” the ZPC said.

The ZPC said Unit 5 at Hwange was also taken out of service on September 19 “for spray water control valves and ID fan repairs”. The unit is expected back in service today (September 23). Unit 6 that was down returned to service on Monday. At Harare Power Station, Station 2 was shut down on August 27.

“The station is now awaiting repowering project to replace the boiler technology. Boiler 3 is on precipitator repairs,” said the ZPC. At Bulawayo Power Station, Boiler 5 is on statutory inspection while Boiler 7 was taken out of service on September 18 for refractory repairs. The ZPC said at Munyati Power Station, Boiler 5 had a suspected boiler tube leak, Boiler 6 on statutory, grate and economizer repairs while Boiler 8 needed a dumping bar replacement.

Boilers 7, 9 and 10 also require attention. “Kariba Unit 5 is currently switched off for water conservation,” said the ZPC. Hwange Power Station has capacity to generate 920MW, Kariba 750MW, Munyati 100MW, Bulawayo 90MW and Harare 50MW. Low water levels at Lake Kariba have affected electricity generation in Zimbabwe and in neighbouring Zambia.

The two countries share electricity from Kariba. Government is making frantic efforts to increase power generation in the country as a key enabler in the economic turnaround. One such effort is the expansion of Kariba South Power Station, commissioned by President Mugabe in September 2014. The massive project is expected to generate an additional 300MW by 2017, a development that should help ease power challenges that have hit industry and also affected winter wheat farming.

Power crisis: SPB bungling worrisome

Power crisis: SPB bungling worrisome

via Power crisis: SPB bungling worrisome | The Herald September 18, 2015

Zimbabwe is facing a serious electricity crisis as the Kariba hydro-power station — the country’s flagship power plant — has reduced its generation capacity from about 700 megawatts to 475MW at a time the other main plant, Hwange Thermal Power Station, is frequently under repairs due to archaic and dilapidated equipment.

This is despite the fact that total generation capacity is half of total demand, something that justifies the current load shedding. To make it worse, Zesa cannot import power from neighbouring countries because they are also failing to satisfy their national demands, with Zambia facing the same predicament as us at Kariba North Power Station.

The fact that Government neglected this sector for too long is no longer a subject of debate, but the consolation is that there is now a clear-cut plan on increasing power generation through various projects. Mr Speaker Sir, on completion, Kariba South and Hwange Thermal Power Stations expansions are expected to add about 900MW to the national grid that will see the country cutting down on power deficit significantly.

These two are long-term projects that were expected to take not less than four years to complete.

Gladly, work has already started at Kariba South with the contractor indicating that they are on schedule to complete the project by early 2018.

Regrettably, not much has happened on the ground at the Hwange plant amid indications that the contractor is looking for funding for the project. It is now two years since Zim-Asset was launched with specific short-term and long-term plans on how to revive the economy with the energy sector being a key economic enabler identified by the blueprint.

Zim-Asset states that: “In order for the Zimbabwean economy to register growth in a manner that is both competitive and effective, there is need for the country to undertake work in critical areas such as the development of a robust, elaborate and resilient infrastructure.” The document adds that Government wants internal power generation increased by 300MW by December 2015.

We are just three months before December yet there are no indications that the country would increase the generation capacity by even 50MW by the end of the year. There is no need to look far beyond the State Procurement Board as to why this goal will not be achieved.

Solar energy is one such quick solution to the power crisis that Zimbabwe is facing and it seems Government was aware of this, hence the approval for solar plants construction in Gwanda, Insukamini and Munyati.

Initially, the tender was for Gwanda where 100 megawatts were anticipated before the Zimbabwe Power Company and the SPB changed the scope to 300MW by adding Munyati and Insukamini. But it is now two years since the State Procurement Board invited bids for solar construction in fulfilment of Government’s quest to find a quick solution to the power crisis bedevilling the country.

But for two years, the tenders have not yet been awarded with the SPB and the Zimbabwe Power Company at the centre of the storm counter-accusing each other of bungling the process. As a result, the 300MW remain a component on the wish-list with nothing tangible yet. How can the country be held to ransom by officials who appear bent on frustrating Government efforts to find a quick solution to a problem that has the capacity to ground the country?

Surely, who doesn’t know that Zimbabwe is in urgent need of increased power generation? If everyone is aware then why are Government-appointed officials taking their time to conclude the tendering process? As things stand, unless some authority is to be invoked, this tender will only be concluded earliest by November if not December.

In the event that the winning bidders are announced in December, they will then have to look for funding for the projects which could also take more time, even up to December next year. This means that the solar projects will likely be concluded by 2018 if not 2019. All this delay is because of problems that characterised the tendering process at the SPB where authorities seem to be from another planet since they see no need to urgently conclude this particular tender.

This solar tender delay is a clear reflection of the problems that Parastatals and State Enterprises are going through in their quest to improve their services.

For instance, when NetOne officials appeared before Parliamentary Portfolio Committees they attributed their failure to compete with private operators to bureaucracy in buying modern technology to upgrade their system.

It is therefore gratifying that President Mugabe acknowledged problems bedevilling procurement procedures. “In view of this, a new Procurement Bill will be drafted and tabled in Parliament before the end of 2015. “The Bill will incorporate COMESA procurement guidelines which emphasise devolution of power to award tenders to procuring entities.

“The procuring entities will comprise Government Ministries, parastatals, State enterprises and local authorities. “The State Procurement Board will be transformed into a new non-executive procurement authority tasked with setting standards and guidelines as monitoring compliance by procurement entities,” said President Mugabe.

This is indeed an ideal arrangement that will see Government institutions being able to expedite the procurement process instead of spending months going through bureaucratic processes that have not done enough to serve their purpose amid indications of malpractices by those in charge of procurement.

To make it worse, those who are in charge of procurement at the SPB are not experts in all areas that they have to adjudicate on. For instance, there are specific areas that require experts to determine who the right bidder is because at the moment, the SPB can turn down recommendations from procuring entities.

Mr Speaker Sir, the fact that procuring entities are going to be in charge of their procurement addresses the problem that has for far too long seen mediocre companies being awarded tenders and fail to deliver. It is of utmost importance that Government expedites the process of restructuring procurement if it is to meet its set objectives timeously.

There is no need for further delay given the complaints across Government institutions on how procuring through SPB has been a nightmare. President Mugabe added that the SPB would act as advisor to the Government on public procurement policy. It is therefore important that the right mechanisms are put in place to ensure that procuring entities do not abuse their positions by engaging in corrupt activities by awarding tenders to undeserving companies for kickbacks.

This is one animal that must be guarded against jealously because failure to do so will see the problems that bedevilled procurement under SPB resurfacing.

Batoka delays cost $45bn

Batoka delays cost $45bn


File pic of a gorge.

Delayed construction of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric power plant has resulted in economic losses to Zimbabwe and Zambia of at least $45 billion, the World Bank has said.

Zimbabwe and Zambia are constructing a hydro-electricity generating plant on the Batoka Gorge of the Zambezi River at a cost of an estimated $3 billion, which is expected to produce 1 600 megawatts to be shared equally between the two countries.

The Batoka hydro project was conceived in 1972 out of a study that the Central African Power Corporation (the predecessor of the Zambezi River Authority) instituted but construction was delayed due to various issues including an impasse between the two states over an outstanding, colonial-era debt.

The World Bank, through its organ, the Co-operation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA) assisted in resolving the impasse, paving way for the project to take off.


CIWA, a World Bank-financed $2 billion portfolio, helps facilitate dialogue between riparian states (countries that share rivers) to drive the development of water resources for sustainable growth.

In a paper on the Collaborative Management of the Zambezi River Basin, the bank said an analysis of the foregone benefits associated with delayed implementation showed huge economic losses to Zimbabwe and Zambia.

“The missed opportunity amounted to an estimated $7 billion in foregone electricity sales and an overall economic loss of over $45 billion,” it said.

It said current efforts were being focused on mobilising the technical and operational resources needed to advance the development of the Batoka Gorge power plant.

This includes updating engineering studies, undertaking a new environmental and social impact assessment, and conducting legal and institutional reviews of the ZRA.

“In terms of infrastructure development, the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electricity Scheme (HES) will ultimately secure the energy needs of more than 1,2 million households equally split between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“Conjunctive operation of the Batoka Gorge HES with the existing Kariba Dam will also increase the overall energy production by 8 962GWh per year.”

Once complete, the Batoka hydro-electricity plant is expected to greatly improve power supply in the two countries, which are grappling with shortages at the moment.

The proposed hydroelectric scheme is located on the Batoka Gorge on the Zambezi River, about 54km downstream of the Victoria Falls, across the boundary between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The project is one of several that the Zimbabwe Government has embarked on to bridge the power deficit in the country.

It would also assist improve the generation mix which is currently skewed in fervour of coal-fired plants.

Zimbabwe generates below 1 500 megawatts most of the times against demand of over 2 000 megawatts during peak periods, forcing the country to supplement internal power generation with imports from regional power utilities. — New Ziana.

Ease power cuts, Made tells Zesa

Ease power cuts, Made tells Zesa

Dr Made

Dr Made

Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made, has appealed to zesa Holdings for lenience on electricity power cuts that are affecting farmers in most parts of the country. He said his ministry was engaging the Ministry of Energy and Power Development to see how the situation could be improved to save crops under irrigation.

Dr Made said the most affected crop was wheat which was nearing maturity. He said farmers were failing to irrigate the crop fully due to constant power cuts, which may also affect seed production which relies on irrigation. “Constant electricity cuts have affected most farmers who are completing their wheat crop and starting summer crop seed producers and those into horticulture.

“I intervened to reduce imports and now the challenge is electricity being cut. I appeal on behalf of farmers to zesa Holdings, to save some crops that were about to mature. If possible, the farms should be spared and allow the crop to mature and be harvested. Otherwise the efforts that have been put in place by all stakeholders including bankers who supported with funding will be put to waste,” he said.

Dr Made expressed concern that some farmers were switching to generators but this was proving to be unviable.

CZI engages Zesa on power outages

CZI engages Zesa on power outages

Brighton Gumbo Business Reporter
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has engaged Zesa to analyse the impact of power outages on industry following the recent announcement of increased loadshedding. The Zimbabwe Power Company recently reduced power generation at Kariba Hydropower Station from 705 megawatts to 475MW due to lower dam water levels.

The country is now producing a combined daily output of 1,300MW against demand of 2,200MW. CZI president Busisa Moyo said in an interview that industry was worried about the shortage of power for the manufacturing sector. “We’re still analysing the impact of power cuts on industries. We’ve engaged Zesa in the analysis seeking clarity on the effects of the reduced daily power generation of 450MW,” he said.

Moyo said the power shortage was likely to disrupt efforts by industry to increase capacity utilisation. He said loadshedding might lead to depressed production which could lead to further job losses.

“Employment is threatened as a result of the power shortages. The people that were reinstated after the enactment of the new Labour Law are going to lose their jobs as there’ll be no production taking place in industries due to increased loadshedding,” he said.

Moyo said low industrial productivity as a result of power outages coupled with high production costs could not sustain a huge labour force. “Companies are struggling as a result of high fixed costs against reduced production. Capacity utilisation is actually well below what we’re expecting,” said Moyo.

CZI has projected that capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector would this year go down from 36,3 percent to about 29 percent due to the prevailing economic challenges.

$250 million solar power projects get greenlight

$250 million solar power projects get greenlight

Harare Bureau
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority has so far licensed five solar projects valued at $250 million which are expected to produce 160 megawatts (MW). Zera chief executive Engineer Gloria Magombo told our Harare Bureau yesterday that licensed solar power projects are at different stages within the Project Development cycle.

“Some of the projects are at Pre-feasibility stage, some have conducted feasibility studies including Environmental Impact Assessments and are moving towards Project Financing and Power Purchase Agreement stage,” said Engineer Magombo.

She said the value of the projects varies as project promoters’ source their materials from different countries but the estimated cost of the five projects is about $250 million.

The five projects include De Green, Geo-base, Yellow Africa, Plum Solar and Oursun. She said the country is also expected to benefit from an approximately 3x100MW solar projects to be funded by the Zimbabwe Power Company which are still at the tendering stage.

Engineer Magombo said the Rural Electrification Agency has several solar mini-grid projects which are at rural health centres and rural schools across the country.

“There are also several small scale solar projects across the country that are powering different equipment and providing lighting at household, company and farm level.

“The rural energy master plan (which is currently being developed by the Rural Electrification Agency) will provide a more accurate evaluation of the level of solar energy penetration in rural settlements in the country,” she said.

Zimbabwe is among the countries in Southern Africa with the best conditions for solar photovoltaic energy and is currently attracting investors into the sector.

Zera was commissioned by the government to develop a feed-in tariff policy, aimed at boosting private sector participation in the development of renewable energy sources.

Power Supply Update advertisement in Herald 4 September 2015




ZESA Holdings would like to advise its valued customers countrywide of the reduction in generation at Kariba Power Station due to depleted dam water levels, commencing on Tuesday, 1st September, 2015 at 1800hrs, in compliance with the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) requirement to scale down on water consumption.

Generation will consequently be reduced from the normal 750MW to 475MW until dam levels have-risen to the requisite levels.

During this period, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) will take full advantage of the reduction of Units in service at Kariba to undertake the annual statutory maintenance, scheduled to be conducted between the 1st September, 2015 and 28th January, 2016.

Whilst generation at thermal power stations is not affected by hydrological issues, Units at Hwange Power Station will also undergo statutory maintenance which will be completed by 7th October, 2015, to ensure greater safety and reliability going forward.

The power utility further advises customers that the planned annual maintenance of Hwange and the reduction in water levels at Kariba dam will lead to changes being effected to the previously publicized load sheddingschedule.

Consumers will experience suppressed power supplies until generation is brought back to normal levels.

Although the effects of load shedding will be minimized with possible power imports where available, ZESA Holdings urges consumers to use the available power very sparingly to minimize the extent and duration of loadshedding.

ZESA Holdingssincerely apologisesforthe unavoidable inconvenience caused.

Power black outs to worsen

Power black outs to worsen

no powerBusiness Reporter
POWER cuts blighting Zimbabwe will get worse until early next month due to reduced generation at Kariba and statutory maintenance at Hwange. The two power stations account for most of the country’s power supply needs, but even in the absence of the temporary setbacks, fall short of demand. Littlecontribution, however, comes from Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati small thermal stations, which are operating at grossly suppressed capacity.

A similar exercise at Hwange thermal station between August and September 2012 took a total of 160 megawatts out of the national power grid. Power utility Zesa Holdings were not available yesterday to shed light on the extent of the loss to the national grid due to maintenance at Hwange. But the 750 megawatt Kariba South station will scale down output to a maximum 475MW after Zambezi River Authority cut down water allocation.

Zesa Holdings earlier said the reduced water allocation will also affect permitted maximum power generation for Zambia from 1080MW to 305MW.

ZRA reduced water allocation shared equally between the neighbouring power utilities to 40 billion cubic metres from the previous 45 billion cubic metres. his comes after studies showed that continuing at the previous water consumption rate would result in water levels falling below the prescribed levels. Water levels in the Kariba Dam, have fallen markedly this year due to the fact that the two countries did not receive good rains in the last season.

In July, the lake water levels stood at 480m above sea levels, 1,05 percent less than the same period last year against minimum draw down levels of 475m. The Zimbabwe Power Company generates electricity on the southern bank of the dam while Zambia power utility Zesco works on the northern end. Zesa Holdings yesterday said that generation would be reduced at Kariba South in compliance with ZRA’s directive to reduce water consumption. “Generation will be reduced from the normal 750MW until Dam levels have risen to the requisite levels,” the national power utility said in a statement.

It added that while thermal power stations were not prone to hydrological issues, units at Hwange will undergo statutory maintenance. This will affect generation between September 1 and October 7. “The power utility advises customers that the planned annual maintenance of Hwange and reduction in water levels will lead to changes being effected to previously publicised loading shedding schedule.

“Customers will experience suppressed power supplies until generation (at Hwange and Kariba) is brought back to normal levels,” Zesa said. Zimbabwe is constantly in the grips of rolling power cuts due to generation constraints largely caused by old equipment and insufficient capacity. The country requires 2 200MW at peak of demand, but was generating an average of 1 300MW to be dented by developments at Kariba and Hwange. This has raised the call for continuous initiatives to have wider generation mix to minimise the full impact of seasonal factors such as low rainfall.

‘Generation diversity key to power supply’

‘Generation diversity key to power supply’

Kariba South remains a strategic source of hydro power, which is significantly cheaper compared to thermal

Kariba South remains a strategic source of hydro power, which is significantly cheaper compared to thermal

Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
ENSURING a diverse generation mix will be critical in maintaining consistent power supply, experts have warned in the wake of water rationing that has limited generation at Kariba South Power Station, one of Zimbabwe’s two largest power stations. The Zambezi River Authority has reduced from 45 billion to 40 billion cubic meters water shared between Zimbabwe Power Company and ZESCO of Zambia, which operates the power station on the northern bank of Lake Kariba. ZRA did an analysis of the water flows and made presentations to stakeholders, including the two power utilities.

ZPC produces 750MW on the southern bank while ZESCO generates 1 080MW on the northern bank. It was determined that continuing at previous levels of water consumption to generate power would result in the lake water falling below the minimum draw-down level of 475,5 metres before the next rainy season (by November 2015). As at end of July, water use by both utilities was above the allocation, partly due to the seasonal peak demand.

ZRA did a re-run of the simulation to determine the remaining allocation and recommended the level of generation of each utility as 305MW for Kariba North and 475MW for Kariba South. Against this background where generation and supply can be affected by factors such as drought, observers said a good generation mix mitigates the extent of the impact of such factors. Limitless potential exists to increase power production through solar power stations, as the country has excellent climatic conditions that guarantee plenty of sunshine all year round.

Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company managing director Engineer Julian Chinembiri said it was critically important to have a good power generation mix to be able to maintain balanced power supply.

“Zimbabwe can have one of the best generation mixes in the world. The other such country is Brazil. A good generation mix means you can use the other source, for example thermal, when you have seasonal interruption caused by drought,” he said. Eng Chinembiri said that with a good generation mix the country can afford to alternate between the different sources of energy, which would also impact on the tariff or cost of power, with biggest benefits coming from use of hydro-power. Most of the country’s power presently comes from 750MW Kariba South power station and 920MW Hwange thermal station, which is currently generating an average of 435Mw.

Plans are afoot to redesign and refurbish the three small thermal stations in Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare through re-powering exercises that are expected to provide over 300MW. Zimbabwe has struggled to maintain balanced supply due to various generation interruptions induced by ageing equipment and weather patterns. Nonetheless, it has an excellent generation mix that includes, mainly, hydro power and thermal power stations in the form of Kariba South and Hwange.

Adequate power supply in the face of growing demand in the economy, urbanisation and development of rural communities will require maintaining generation at optimal levels across the country’s varied sources of power. This comes as analysts have hitherto posed questions about the idea behind a staggering $536 million investment into expanding Kariba’s capacity, which has been affected by low rainfall in the upper Zambezi catchment this season. Government is also pursuing expansion of Hwange through units 7 and 8 at a cost of $1,2 billion, which will add another 600MW to the grid. Kariba South will add 300MW, allowing more flexibility during peak hours although not adding to total energy generate in a year. “This is one of the major disadvantages of hydro-power stations, they are susceptible to droughts. In this part of the world where we experience droughts now and again we need a good generation mix of hydro and thermal,” said an analyst.

Zimbabwe electricity cuts to worsen on power plants maintenance

Zimbabwe electricity cuts to worsen on power plants maintenance


Zimbabwe’s two biggest electricity generation plants will start annual routine maintenance on Tuesday, leading to even deeper power cuts in the southern African nation, the state-owned utility said.


At best, Zimbabwe produces 1,345 megawatts (MW), half its peak demand, forcing local industries to use costly diesel generators to keep operations running. Electricity shortages have been blamed for keeping away potential investors.


Hwange Power Station

The two power stations set for maintenance are Hwange, a coal-fired station in the west and Kariba hydro plant in the north, which jointly produce 90 percent of Zimbabwe’s power.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) said Hwange would undergo maintenance until Oct. 7, while Kariba, which has cut back on generation due to low water levels, would see its maintenance stretch to Jan. 28.

“Consumers will experience suppressed power supplies until generation is brought back to normal levels,” ZESA said in a statement.

Hwange has a capacity of 920 megawatts but ageing and frequent breakdown of equipment has kept its production around 496 MW.

Zimbabwe Power Company, ZESA’s subsidiary, last week said it would cut electricity generation by a third to 475 megawatts (MW) at Kariba due to low dam water levels.

ZESA said it would import electricity from neighbouring countries if it is available. However most of them, including South Africa and Zambia, are also grappling with power supply shortages of their own.

On Monday, Africa’s richest man, Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, said he plans to open a $400 million cement plant in Zimbabwe and would also look at investing in coal and power generation.

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