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Plans to expand Kariba power plant hit snag
Monday, 11 June 2012 12:15
BY NQABA MATSHAZI
PLANS by Zimbabwe to add two more generators to Kariba South have all but
hit a brick wall, with the authority responsible for Kariba Dam saying the
project was not feasible.
Zimbabwe, which shares the Kariba dam with Zambia, was hoping that the new
generators would help ease power shortages and load-shedding, which are
common in the country.
“We have looked at the feasibility of the project and there is not enough
water to run continuous power generation, unless they propose to do so
during the rainy season peak periods,” Wilson Sakala, the Zambezi River
Authority senior manager for Water Resources and Environmental Management
“We fear that if it is continuously run, there won’t be enough water in the
dam. However, when it’s not during the rainy season, the two units can run
but only for shorter periods and that means when the dam is full to
capacity, we no longer have to open the floodgates.”
But the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) insisted that it would go ahead with
the project, as it was looking to expanding Kariba South to increase
“It has not been communicated to us that there are problems with our
expansion project. In fact we have been advised that the water levels are
always high in the Kariba Dam.
“Early this year, during a tour of the dam by Sadc, we were apprised on the
advantages of adding two more units,” Fadzai Chisveto, ZPC spokesperson
However, the Zambezi Watercourse Commission (Zamcom), which administers the
Zambezi River on behalf of the eight countries that are on the basin, says
Zimbabwe’s only chance of increasing power generation is based on its
ability to look for foreign investors.
“If Zimbabwe cannot buy enough power from the existing Sadc power pool, the
only solution is for the country to open doors to partners that can fund its
power projects,” Michael Mutale, Zamcom executive secretary said.
Countries on a cross-border water course like the Zambezi are supposed to
inform each other of any projects that they are working on the river, so
that it does not affect other nations who are either up or downstream.
There are eight countries on the Zambezi watercourse and these have to okay
Zimbabwe’s plans on power generation, which also have to be approved by the
ZRA, which administers the Kariba Dam on behalf of Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Countries on the Zambezi watercourse are Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Malawi
Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Sadc hopes for speedy resolution
Sadc hopes that the issue of adding more generators at Kariba power plant
may be resolved accordingly. Phera Ramoeli, Sadc senior programme officer
for water, said despite technical obstacles to Zimbabwe’s installing
additional generating capacity at Kariba South, he expected a solution would
“I am sure these are only technical issues but Zambia and Zimbabwe will iron
out these between themselves and find a win-win solution since ZRA is a body
that works in the best interests of the two,” he said.
Zesa employees cash in on defaulting residents
Monday, 11 June 2012 14:54
BY JENNIFER DUBE
HARARE — Some Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) employees are
cashing in on desperate Glen Norah residents, charging them an average of
US$30 per household to avoid power disconnection, a residents’ rights
organisation has said.
The Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) last week said some Zesa employees were
demanding payment to stop disconnecting defaulting residents’ power.
“Residents in the area have resorted to bribing Zesa employees around US$30
to avoid disconnection of electricity. Several residents have done this in
the community and continue to fall prey to the Zesa employees,” said the
The residents, said HRT, also complained that most of their electricity
bills were not a true reflection of consumption at household levels, as they
were based on estimates. They also complained about faulty billing and
excessive load-shedding in the suburb.
The residents also said Zesa officials were very uncooperative and hostile
whenever they attempted to seek detailed explanations on their accounts.
Zesa spokesperson, Fullard Gwasira, professed ignorance that some Zesa
employees were getting paid by defaulting residents to avoid disconnections.
He urged residents to pay the bills at banking halls and not to individuals.
“Whoever is paying that US$30 is being cheated and they are doing themselves
a disservice because their bills remain the same and even increase the
following month,” said Gwasira.
“One is better off paying that US$30 to Zesa and having their bill lowered
by the same amount and not giving it to someone for temporary relief, but
still risk disconnection.” He urged the public to report such people to
ZESA to continue with disconnections: Gwasira
Gwasira however said the disconnections to defaulting residents in Glen View
and other areas would continue. “It is not like we have a special operation
against residents in that area,” he said.
“This is just a routine operation,” said Gwasira. “We read meters, send
bills and expect payment, but some residents do not pay, prompting us to
send reminders in the form of a second bill. We are open to those who want
to negotiate payment plans but some ignore us, leaving us with no option but
to disconnect, which is the last resort.”
Gwasira said Zesa reads 80% of meters every month and starts with the other
20 the following month. He said rate payers should know that there is a
direct relationship between payments and the quality of service delivered.
“The better payment we receive, the better the service we deliver because we
use the money to improve our services,” he said.
Zim-Zambia partnership could ease ZESA woes
Zimbabwe’s power supply is hoped to improve following a partnership the
country entered into with Zambia to develop the electricity generation
capacity of the Batoka gorge.
by Sofia Mapuranga
The project, already captured in the Southern African Development Community
(Sadc) Infrastructure Investment prospectus, will see the country exploring
means to develop the Batoka gorge for the production of energy.
The project involves the construction of a dam and a hydro power plant on
the Zambezi River.
The potential capacity of the site is 1 600 MW to be shared equally between
Zambia and Zimbabwe Addressing delegates on Tuesday at the official opening
of the fifth River Basins Organisations workshop being held in Harare under
the theme “Monitoring the implementation of the Sadc Protocol on shared
watercourses”, the Minister of Water Resources Management, Sam Sipepa Nkomo
said there was need for a systematic and consistent implementation of the
“It is in this light that in partnership with the Republic of Zambia, we are
exploring means to develop the Batoka gorge. Water plays a major role in
energy production in Zimbabwe,” said Nkomo.
“In SADC, we have the necessary instruments and institutions to foster
integrated water resources management at the river basin level,” he added.
Nkomo said the speedy implementation of the agreed action points was
critical because water remained a critical component of the development
agenda in the region.
“The onus is on water authorities to ensure that the water sector is managed
efficiently and in line with international best practices,” he said.
Zimbabwe has over the years suffered poor power supplies because of limited
local generation capacity, lack of funds to import adequate electricity and
a scaling down of provisions from the region.
He said the establishment of sufficient institutional development for
trans-boundary waters had the capacity to enhance cooperation between
countries and could boost regional socio-economic development and
“Trans-boundary waters can make a contribution towards regional peace if the
institutional capacity exists to manage them cooperatively for the benefit
of all basin states,” he said.
The Sadc Director of Infrastructure and Services, Remigious Makumbe, said
water was a key pillar of the economy, adding that there was need to scale
up its availability to ensure food security in the region.
“Water is the engine for economic growth and many of our member states
continue to face the challenge of access to water supply and sanitation,” he
He added: “It is important for SADC countries to build strategic water
infrastructure that will increase land under irrigation to ensure the
availability of water and guarantee food security in the region.”
The fifth RBOs workshop aims to build a consensus on Sadc strategies to
support the efforts of member states in the establishment of institutional
It is also seeking to strengthen and develop RBOs and other joint
trans-boundary water resources management mechanisms in the region.
ZESA Angers Glen Norah Residents
HRT Membership Desk
4 June 2012, Glen Norah – ZESA has adopted punitive measures to defaulting
residents here who have not been paying their electricity bills consistently
by embarking in wide spread electricity disconnections. Residents in the
area have various reasons why they have not been settling their monthly
electricity bills. Residents feel that electricity bills are based on
estimates and are not a true reflection of the consumption at household
level, load shedding and faulty billing. This has frustrated some
breadwinners in the community who earn way below the poverty datum line.
This has left them with what they said “no reason to pay electricity bills”.
This contradicts the HRT policy which advocates for shared responsibility
between residents and service providers in service delivery. From the HRT’s
perspective, residents should exhibit their responsibility in service
delivery mainly by paying bills for services rendered. However, rates
should be affordable for the good of the greater public.
Having received the reports of massive power disconnections from the Glen
Norah B’ Residents’ Committee (GRC), that is responsible for monitoring and
evaluating community service delivery by service providers, the HRT
facilitated a mobile case work clinic in the area. From the interviews held
by the HRT Membership Officer, Simbarashe Majamanda, HRT Community
Coordinator Ms Abigail Itayi and the HRT Programs Intern, Mr Marshall
Masiyazi from the Midlands State University on Tuesday 29 May 2012 in Glen
Norah B Community, the dire economic situation of the country has affected
the capacity of residents to pay electricity bills. Most residents
appreciated that they have an obligation to pay for their electricity but
they have failed due to their socio-economic status. Eighty-nine (89)
reports from 53 women and 36 men were received and documented by the HRT
team within three hours at one of the households in the community.
The local Member of Parliament Honourable Gift Dzirutwe is seriously
concerned with the situation. He has helped the residents to deal with the
situation through sharing information and providing transport to the ZESA
offices in the city centre.
The following key issues came from the interviews:
Economic problems: Elderly men and women interviewed aged between 59 and
75 said they lack a source of income which has affected their capacity to
settle their electricity bills. Elderly women said that most of them are
widowed and they rely mostly on vending activities which does not give them
much money for survival. As vendors they also face challenges from the
Zimbabwe Republic Police and Municipal Police who conduct raids in the name
of illegal vending activities. This clearly shows that they also lack access
to designated vending points or that they do not afford them if they are
Faulty billing: Residents said that even if they make payments to ZESA,
the debt continues to sky rocket. “It appears making a payment is an
indication that you have a bit of money that ZESA can suck from you” said
one elderly man aged 85 who showed that he does not have any hope to clear
his debt which currently stands at $954.21 Account Number 283786651. The man
went on to say that he was prepared to pay $45.00 per month for electricity.
Growing insecurity: There is a feeling that residents may lose their
properties just as what happened to three households in Mabvuku after debt
collectors confiscated their properties due to outstanding water rates in
February 2012. Elderly women said that the high debts have caused insecurity
to their children who are the heirs to their properties which they have also
not fully acquired from council under the “rent to buy program”.
Unprofessional conduct by ZESA employees: Some of the interviewees
revealed that ZESA officials are very uncooperative and hostile whenever
they attempt seeking detailed explanations on their accounts. Residents in
the area have resorted to bribing ZESA employees around $30.00 to avoid
disconnection of electricity. Several residents have done this in the
community and continue to fall prey to the ZESA employees.
Transition to multicurrency system: Although the ZESA Public Relations
Officer, Mr Fullard Gwasira reported to HRT Communications Officer, Mr
Shingayi Jena that ZESA indicated that ZESA scrapped off debts from
residents accounts following the transition from the Zimbabwe dollar era to
the multi-currency regime in February 2009, residents in the area are of the
view that the transition was ill- managed and lacked transparency. From the
residents’ viewpoint, the debts have accumulated largely due to estimated
billing, the manipulated transition from the local currency to the
multi-currency system, and the interest charged on overdue accounts.
Current situation: HRT offices are overwhelmed by residents who have ZESA
complaints and they require ZESA’s assistance. The HRT Membership Desk is
receiving reports of unprofessional conduct by the Harare ZESA Sales
Managers specifically the ZESA Sales Manager who are telling referred
clients that they are not prepared to read HRT referral letters in which the
HRT writes to seek their intervention on individual cases. ZESA is saying
that residents whose electricity was disconnected are supposed to settle
their bills in full. According to one female client this morning, the ZESA
sales manager told her that he was not going to read her letter. She
mentioned that she is prepared to pay $50.00 per month. She was advised
that she could pay the $50.00 per month until her debt is cleared then her
electricity would be reconnected. Last week, some clients were assisted by
the Sales Manager but it was upon payment of 25% of the debt which was
reduced to the previous 50% requirement. There is growing tension between
ZESA and the residents of Glen Norah. Some residents have resorted to
reconnecting power illegally which is contrary to the HRT policy. They have
and are also using the few dollars they had reserved to paying their
electricity for other pressing needs at household level.
If the situation continues, ZESA employees face the risk of experiencing a
backlash from disgruntled residents. It is up to ZESA to treat residents
with respect or regret their uncalled for actions. It is time to change the
approach or be forced to change the approach! The choice is for ZESA to
This will not benefit ZESA or the resident. We need to be realistic to
address residents’ needs as well as the capacity needs of ZESA as the
ZESA seals US$230m India deal
THE Zimbabwe Power Company has signed a $230 million memorandum of
understanding with India’s Wapcos Ltd to overhaul the country’s three
The plants covered are Bulawayo, Hwange and Munyati, Zimbabwe Power, the
power generating unit of Zesa Holdings (Pvt) Ltd., said in a newsletter
The memorandum also includes a feasibility study for the Gairezi hydro-power
station and upgrading the Deka pumping station for Hwange Power Station,
It didn’t say when the agreement was signed.
The power utility is struggling to meet national demand with supplies being
rationed to both commercial and domestic users.
Zesa currently generates about 1,116 megawatts of electricity today against
a national demand of between 1,900 to 2,200 megawatts and tries to plug the
gap with imports from regional suppliers.
Govt to restructure energy sector
Written by Taurai Mangudhla, Business Writer
Monday, 04 June 2012 14:40
HARARE - Zimbabwe plans to restructure its energy sector and make way for
independent power distribution firms, Zesa Holdings (Zesa) chief executive
Josh Chifamba said.
He told a Thursday Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries Annual General
Meeting, the move was in line with government’s plans to improve utility
services while establishing an independent power regulator.
“There is a lot of progress on that and I wouldn’t want to pre-empt it (but)
there is a whole white paper on that and the minister is supposed to present
it to cabinet,” Chifamba said without giving specifics of the proposed new
The energy sector is currently regulated by Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory
The Zesa chief’s remarks came after Francis Masawi, an engineer and regional
independent energy consultant, argued there was an imminent need to
restructure the country’s power sector.
He said the current single buyer model-only by Zimbabwe Electricity
Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC)-was an impediment to
investment in the energy sector.
“Imagine you have a private production company and you want to sell to a
sole buyer that is owed $500 million by their consumers, how
are they likely to pay,” Masawi said.
“That thing (the single buyer model) must be done away with; it doesn’t
exist in the Act. It was only transitional.”
Masawi said Zesa should assume a role of shareholder only.
He said competition should be introduced in the supply side of electricity
just as it is required in the petroleum sector.
“Whatever the reason, the current structure has failed to resuscitate the
Zimbabwe currently has capacity to generate about 1 200 MW of
electricity, mainly from Kariba Hydro Power Station and Hwange Power Station
(HPS) compared to a rising national demand of around 2 200MW.
The country’s generation capacity is now half of what it used to be in 1980
when the economy and population was smaller.
New projects that are meant to improve the current deficit position could
take longer to commence after potential takers for the country’s HPS
rehabilitation project asked for a one month extension on the June 5,
Chifamba said this would delay adjudication of tender to restore HPS unit
seven and eight to end of July.
“If we get to a financial close by the end of the year then by early 2016
there should be something coming out of the two projects,” he said, adding
his organisation was aware of the anxiety among Zimbabweans for an immediate
power solution. Zesa, Chifamba said, was not spared by the country’s
decade-long economic stagnation and needs a lot of investment.
“The state of the equipment at all levels is appalling and dangerous.
That explains the number of accidents we are having now.”
In February government announced plans to unbundle the Zimbabwe Electricity
Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) into two separate entities to
improve operating efficiency.
ZETDC is responsible generating, transmitting and distributing power and was
formed in 2002 after government unbundled ZETDC into different companies
The Electricity Act ushered in the formation of five successor companies,
the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Company
(Zetco), Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZEDC), Zesa Enterprises
and Powertel Communications.
ZEDC’s business is the distribution and retail of electricity to the final
In line with the approved structure, all power generation assets and
operations are under ZPC.
Zesa Enterprises, another subsidiary of Zesa Holdings comprises of four
business units namely Zesa Technology Centre, Production and Services,
Transport Logistics and Projects.
It is a flexible investment arm for Zesa Holdings that has a diversified
‘Zesa abandons load shedding schedule’
Saturday, 02 June 2012 18:09
POWER supply remains erratic in most parts of Harare with the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) failing to stick to a load shedding
schedule it published in the media recently, seriously affecting many
Despite the long hours of power cuts, residents complain of exorbitant bills
at the end of every month. The cost of electricity is affecting thousands of
households as they have to buy paraffin and firewood at a higher cost, yet
still have to settle their bills.
Community coordinator, Ronia Gwaze, said that residents of Vainona and
Hatcliffe suburbs had electricity cut off recently due to unpaid electricity
bills. Abrupt power outages have resulted in electrical gadgets being
damaged. In Vainona, a house at 14114 Tern Avenue was gutted by fire caused
by a burst paraffin stove during one of the numerous power outages. Some
residents have resorted to using generators or solar lights because of the
constant power cuts.
Water supplies in Waterfalls remain poor with most areas going without the
commodity for several days. During the past week, several residents had
their water disconnected by the City of Harare yet supplies are erratic. The
water bills are so high that most residents feel they are unjustified.
Residents in Glen View are receiving water three times a week. Given this
situation, residents have to queue at the few boreholes sunk by humanitarian
Women and school-going children wake up very early to line up for water and
at times are bullied at the boreholes. Some residents in areas without the
boreholes have dug shallow wells which are unprotected, raising fears of
Health and Environment
Refuse is not being collected in Mbare National and Mbare Musika. The same
situation prevails in Waterfalls at shopping centres such as Park Town and
Zindoga business centre. Residents of Hatcliffe Extension have resorted to
burying or burning rubbish in pits.
This is quite the opposite of what is happening in Hatcliffe 1, where there
is frequent refuse collection. Refuse is supposed to be collected every
Saturday in Glen View but they hardly come. This has led to residents
throwing rubbish everywhere in the area, along the roads and on street
Residents in most parts of Harare pay for their plumbing services if they
experience blocked sewer pipes on their premises. This is despite that
council plumbers are supposed to provide that service to the residents. — By
Harare Residents Trust (HRT)
17 hours of load-shedding in Zim
Eyewitness News | Today,
JOHANNESBURG - Reports from Zimbabwe say Harare residents face a miserable
weekend without water, power, and in some cases, beer too.
Some suburbs are now going for 17 hours without power per day, just as the
cold weather is kicking in.The state-run ZESA power company recently
introduced massive load-shedding.Employers are now allowed to dock money
from their employees' salaries, to make up for non-productive hours.Water
supply is erratic still, with Harare's eastern suburbs reported to be
affected the worst.
And now, beer shortages have kicked in. Street vendors are cashing in
by buying all scarce stock available, so they can push up the price on the
Winter Load Shedding Programme
Please click here to open this document
Mozambique Threatens Power Cuts To Zimbabwe
HARARE, May 16 (Bernama) - Mozambique's Cabora Bassa Hydro Electricity
Company is threatening to further reduce or suspend power exports to
Zimbabwe over ZESA Holdings' huge debt, a senior government official said
Zimbabwe Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development, Hubert Nyanhongo
told New Ziana news agency that Zesa Holdings owes the Mozambican utility
US$80 million and is servicing its debt too slowly.
However, he said Zimbabwe is committed to repaying its debt in spite of
financial challenges facing ZESA Holdings.
Cabora Bassa has in the past reduced power supplies to Zimbabwe over the
ZESA imports power from neighbouring countries to bridge a shortfall in
domestic generation and with the onset of the winter season, the country's
power deficit has slightly increased as power demand rises.
Nyanhongo said in most cases, only three out of the six power generating
units at Hwange were functional.
The power utility is currently seeking a partner to build two new generation
units at Hwange.
Zimbabwe braces for daily 9-hour power outages amid winter weather
Zimbabwe braces for daily 9-hour power outages amid winter weather
By Associated Press, Published: May 13
HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s state power company says it is implementing
power cuts of at least nine hours a day as the winter season begins in the
southern African nation.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Company says the outages, known as load shedding,
will affect homes, businesses and industries across the nation. Only major
hospitals and strategic facilities will be excluded.
In a statement Sunday, the company said during colder months it can only
supply half the national demand for power. Demand peaks in winter.
It blamed breakdowns, aging equipment and financial problems that prevent
them from importing power from the region.
In years of economic meltdown, Zimbabwe suffered regular poorly managed
power outages of up to 20 hours a day while some areas escaped cuts because
of inefficiency. The state weather office has forecast near freezing lows in
Continuing power shortages cripple Zimbabwe economy
SPECIAL REPORT BY XINHUA CORRESPONDENT
HARARE (Xinhua) -- Power outages have been on the increase of late and
continue to cripple Zimbabwe ’s economy as the country’s debt-laden power
utility fails to adequately supply electricity to industry, commerce and
With the winter season fast approaching with its usual higher demand for
power than the other seasons, ZESA Holdings’ position is far from being
Apart from heating requirements by consumers to beat the cold, hundreds of
farmers also need electricity to irrigate winter wheat and keep other
operations on their farms running.
Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made
last week bemoaned the power shortages which he said would seriously affect
the revival of the agricultural sector and downstream industries.
“Can you imagine a seed company using generators to dry seed and still
expect to remain in business or sell the product at profitable prices?”
Made told The Herald that he was disappointed to note that some seed houses
were actually using generators to dry the seed because of the power cuts.
ZESA now risks the danger of being accused of derailing the winter wheat
season, even in cases where farmers fail to plant for other reasons.
Even though Made has expressed his disappointment over the power cuts,
Finance Minister Tendai Biti has already said that the power deficit would
persist for the foreseeable future - notwithstanding the on-going
rehabilitation program at power stations.
While billions of U.S. dollars are required to fully refurbish and upgrade
current power stations, the government only availed 40 million dollars for
energy programs in 2011, with an average generation of 1,105 megawatts (MW)
realized against an envisaged capacity of 1,600.
An increased output of 1,244 is now envisaged for 2012, compared to demand
of 2,200 MW required to fire all the sectors of the economy.
Under the 2012 budget, Biti allocated nearly 55 million dollars towards the
rehabilitation of Hwange and Kariba power stations and the transmission and
An injection of 1 billion dollars for the construction of new generation
plants at Hwange Thermal Power Station and another 400 million dollars to
expand Kariba South (Hydro) will create an additional 900 MW and satisfy the
country’s short term needs, but the government does not have such a huge
Limited finances have also hampered the utility’s ability to import from
neighboring utilities such as Mozambique ’s Hydroelectrica de Cahora Bassa,
to which it is battling to clear an 80 million dollars debt.
At midday, the utility was producing a total of 1,087 MW with Hwange Thermal
Power Station, which has a potential of 920 MW, producing 392 MW while
Kariba hydro was producing 615 MW from a potential of about 740 MW.
The load shedding status was at the highest level of severe. The utility has
five statuses—minimal, light, moderate, heavy and severe.
Zimbabwe recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Zambia to
jointly construct the 4-billion-dollar 1,650 MW at Batoka Hydro-power
project on the Zambezi River .
However, work on the project will only begin after Zimbabwe pays, or makes a
strong commitment to pay off more than 70 million dollars it owes Zambia
from the sale of the Central African Power Corporation assets which had been
jointly owned by the two countries. The debt is supposed to be paid off in
Generally, Zimbabwe has been engaged primarily in rehabilitating
infrastructure as opposed to construction of new power stations.
More efficient use of power through the replacement of incandescent bulbs
with energy savers, installation of pre-paid meters, among others, will also
result in a saving of 300 MW which can be channeled to the productive
The government has already removed duty on the importation of energy saving
bulbs to promote their usage.
Why we’re stuck in the dark
Don’t know about you but 16 hour long power cuts are starting to get me
down. This update from the Zimbabwe Power Company helps to explain the
current spate of bad power:
It is with regret that I advise of the fact that we (Zimbabwe Power
Company) lost the four producing units at Hwange Power Station yesterday
afternoon (Wednesday 25th April). One unit was brought back onto the grid
last night and we hope to bring a second, larger unit, back around 4am
tomorrow (Friday 26th April). Repair on the third unit is scheduled for
completion such that it will be ‘returned to service’ on Saturday morning.
Two phase one (smaller) units are having their rotors re-wired in South
Africa – this is major work.
Kariba has five units on line with the sixth due back on the grid in
mid-May after routine, but critical, maintenance ahead of winter.
The Hwange and Kariba expansion plans remain on program at this time.
The tenders are out and close in June. this will be followed by 2 three
month periods for tender review and finalisation of funding/award.
Thereafter construction will take between three to four years (2016-17).
This entry was posted on April 27th, 2012 at 12:41 pm by Amanda Atwood
‘Huge Fault’ at Hwange Plant leaves Harare without power
By Tererai Karimakwenda
27 April 2012
A technical fault is said to be the cause of a power cut that left Harare
without power since very early Thursday morning. The state-owned Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) blamed a “huge fault” at the Hwange
thermal power plant for the problem, which forced many businesses to stop
operations and others to shut down.
ZESA is functioning with old equipment that has not been well maintained or
properly serviced since independence in 1980. Mismanagement and corruption,
which have destroyed other parastatals, are also contributing to the utility
company’s ongoing crisis. Many areas of the country go without power
regularly and power cuts have become a way of life.
ZESA is also owed millions of dollars by top government officials who have
received power for years without making payments. SW Radio Africa reported
earlier this month that the national power utility is under increasing
pressure to switch off these officials, with the first family being among
the worst offenders.
The Mugabe family reportedly owe ZESA more than US$300,000 as of December
2011. Despite this, ZESA has been cutting off power for the ordinary
citizens who are struggling to pay much less. Energy and Power Development
Minister Elton Mangoma has said ZESA is owed more than $140 million by
Human rights activist Tariro Manhendere told SW Radio Africa that although
some parts of the capital got power back Friday afternoon, many others, like
Kuwadzana and Dzivarasekwa, still had none. She said these areas experience
power cuts more frequently and for longer periods than the Central Business
Asked how bad this week has been in terms of power cuts, Manhendere said:
“It’s quite this frustrating. You can’t plan anything, especially those that
are in home industries who have no choice.”
The frustrated activist said vendors who sell products that need
refrigeration, like meat, lose money when their products go bad but out of
desperation sometimes still try to sell them.
More repairs to the aging equipment at Hwange Power Station were expected
over the weekend and reports quoted ZESA spokesman Fullard Gwasira as
saying: “Technicians and engineers are working flat out to fix the problem.
Zimbabwe's Power Outages to Worsen as Gov't Negotiates With Mozambique
02 April 2012
ZESA is owed more that $550 million by customers and Mangoma said
disconnections of defaulters over the next few days will help raise the
money needed to reduce the debt with Mozambique
Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington
Zimbabwe's Energy Minister Elton Mangoma says the country's power utility,
ZESA, needs to raise $40 million by the end of the month to reduce its $80
million debt with Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa, which last month reduced
power supplies to Harare citing non-payment.
Mangoma said intensified disconnections of defaulters would help raise the
money. He said the country's power supply situation could worsen over the
Easter break if ZESA fails to raise the funds by Friday.
The minister, who held meetings in Maputo last week with his Mozambican
counterpart and the country's energy officials, told the VOA that Cahora
Bassa wants Harare to pay at least $40 million dollars before it can up
power supplies to Harare.
“They agreed to increase power supply once we have made our payment," said
Mangoma. "They expecting us to bring our debt to below $40 million and they
said that is when the power supply would be increased for us.”
“For us to have reduced load-shedding during the holidays, it all depends on
whether we are able to mobilize the required resources by Friday," said the
ZESA is owed more that $550 million by customers. Mangoma said
disconnections of defaulters over the next few days will help raise the
money needed to reduce the debt with Mozambique.
“What this means is more power disconnections for everyone,” he said.
“Although I cannot disclose the amount we have at the moment, we are also
going to apply multiple methods to raise the money and Government also has
to look for other alternatives like loans or where to borrow,” the minister
Load-shedding could worsen: Mangoma
by Staff Reporter
POWER supply problems could worsen across the country over Easter unless the
US$76 million debt owed to suppliers in Mozambique is significantly reduced,
a cabinet minister has warned.
Energy Minister, Elton Mangoma said Zimbabwe needs to reduce its debt to
under US$40 million by Friday to ensure the current power supply problems do
not get worse.
“They (Mozambique) agreed to increase power supply once we have made our
payment. They expecting us to bring our debt to below US$40 million and they
said that is when the power supply would be increased for us,” Mangoma told
the state-owned Herald newspaper.
“For us to have reduced load-shedding during the holidays, it all depends on
whether we are able to mobilise the required resources by Friday.
“If that is not the case, it means the situation would remain the same and
we will continue with the power outages until we set off what we owe.”
Mangoma said ZESA – which is owed more that US$550 million by customers --
would step-up disconnections of defaulters over the next few days to help
raise the money needed to reduce the debt with Mozambique.
“What this means is more power disconnections for everyone,” he said.
“Although I cannot disclose the amount we have at the moment, we are also
going to apply multiple methods to raise the money and Government also has
to look for other alternatives like loans or where to borrow.”
Zimbabwe generates 1,300MW of electricity which was way short of the daily
national requirement of about 2,200 megawatts.
The country has plugged the gap with imports from regional suppliers but
many have cut back supplies due to payment problems.
The shortages have forced ZESA to ration supplies to both commercial and
domestic users with some areas going for more than 10 hours per day without
Zimbabwe shortlists bids for enlarging power plants
Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:05pm GMT
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has short-listed eleven bidders for the
expansion of its Hwange and Kariba South power plants, with a winner
expected to be announced in the third quarter of this year, its energy
minister said on Tuesday.
It has been battling power shortages due to growing demand and ageing
plants, limiting supplies to industry and the key mining sector. Zimbabwe
produces around 1,000 MW of electricity, compared with peak demand of 2,200
The extension of the Hwange thermal power station will add 600 megawatts
(MW) to the Zimbabwean national grid, while the extension of the Kariba
South hydro plant will add 300 MW.
Elton Mangoma said companies from China, India, South Korea, Italy and
Brazil were among the shortlisted and the firms have until the first week in
June to submit a detailed proposal.
"I'm hoping that it will not take more than three months to adjudicate and
thereafter award the tender. We are hoping that in the fourth quarter we can
move on the projects," he told Reuters on the sidelines of an African power
conference in Johannesburg.
Mangoma said additional units at the two plants will be operated in a
public-partnership between the Zimbabwe government and whoever is chosen to
build the plants.
The minister said Zimbabwe still owed around $85 million in unpaid power
imports, mainly to neighbouring Mozambique.
Mangoma said he was meeting Mozambican officials on Thursday to address the
issue, especially after Mozambique halved its exports to Zimbabwe to 50 MW
due to the unpaid bills.
The minister said that together with neighbouring Zambia his country had in
February decided to revive the Batoka Gorge hydroelectric power project,
estimated to cost $2.5 billion, and expected to supply a total of 1,600 MW
to the two countries.
The two neighbours will look for an independent power producer to construct
the plant on a build-operate-transfer basis.
The 1,600 MW, which could later be upscaled to 2,000 MW, would be evenly
split between the two countries, he said.
Mangoma said the project was in the preliminary stages and it would be too
early to comment on time lines.
In the meantime, the minister hoped to convince utilities in the region to
boost trade of electricity during off-peak times to alleviate the most
Zesa scam divides government
By Xolisani Ncube, Staff Writer
Monday, 26 March 2012 11:59
HARARE - Sharp divisions have emerged in government over huge Zesa Holdings
debts owed by President Robert Mugabe and his allies in Zanu PF which they
now say have been used by the MDC to prop its electoral chances in future
A seething Mugabe and his colleagues in Zanu PF last week reportedly
targeted Energy minister Elton Mangoma for “breaching confidentiality”
clauses by “leaking” to the Daily News their ballooning Zesa bills which run
into millions of dollars.
This followed a stinging expose by the Daily News which named Mugabe and
his officials among the top defaulters at a time when the majority of the
poor Zimbabweans were living in darkness following massive disconnections by
Zesa for not paying their bills.
Mugabe and several Zanu PF ministers last Tuesday reportedly confronted
Mangoma over the Zesa bills demanding answers why their debts were published
in the Daily News.
Mangoma however said he was unaware how the bills reached the Daily News. He
told an investment conference in Harare last week that he respected client
The Daily News was told yesterday that Mangoma now feels unsafe after the
fierce confrontation while senior employees at Zesa are said to be also
living in fear over the published list of VIP defaulters.
The Zanu PF side of government’s anger was reflected on Saturday in the
state media when a top government official writing under the pen name
Nathaniel Manheru claimed that the Zesa scandal was carefully designed by
the MDC to create havoc in Zanu PF.
In a column headlined, Inventing a matching scandal, Manheru partly wrote:
“Out of desperation, MDC-T today pushes its ministers, some of them
previously arraigned before the courts for questionable conduct, pushes them
hard to invent matching scandals to incriminate other players so the ugly
spotlight is shared.
Its thrust is to democratise blame, so judgment is shared. It is a posture
of a party convinced about its own incorrigibility.
“Is it not incredible that a whole accountant is pushed to re-classify a
well documented debt into a screaming scandal? And does so the same weeks
his counterpart, Finance minister Biti, is publishing a debt settlement
strategy for Zimbabwe?"
“Or is he about to name and shame Zimbabwe for the scandal of defaulting on
its debts the same way Zesa clients have? Is owing in business a scandal
mister accountant? Which business does not carry obligations?"
“Clearly here is a man sidestepping professional knowledge to serve a cause,
in the process becoming quite stupid by standards of his profession. I
suppose next week we will read about Sable Chemicals,
itself the biggest single user of power it cannot always pay for in time."
“More dramatically, Mangoma will name and shame Zesa for the scandal of not
paying its Mozambican counterpart to the tune of well over US$40 million.
The whole thing does not make sense at all.”
Nathaniel Manheru is also believed to be one of Mugabe’s top aides.
But a senior MDC official yesterday dismissed the notion that the Zesa
scandal is being used for political mileage for their party.
“The issue here is simple. They must just simply pay their bills. They all
confirm that they owe Zesa lots of money so what is the problem. Since
independence, they were grabbing things for free and now the ball game has
changed and they are crying,” he said.
The scandal also revealed multiple ownership of farms as most bills emanate
from the grabbed properties.
The conspiracy to bleed state power firm Zesa by not paying bills running
into millions ran through the President’s Office and state institutions to
ministers, the military, MPs and Zanu PF district offices.
A few of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube’s people were
also in the mix with smaller amounts. But the impunity was shocking.
Top ministers — some who claim to hold vast riches — and just about everyone
and state institutions connected to the system amassed huge bills at a time
when Zesa was enforcing a punishing load shedding schedule on the majority
poor due to cash flow problems.
The First Family through their many farms owed Zesa nearly $345 000 as at
December 31, 2011.
Manicaland governor Chris Mushowe led the pack with an astounding bill of
$367 606, 07.
Didymus Mutasa, the minister of State in Mugabe’s office owed State
parastatals a massive $179 590, 31, Saviour Kasukuwere, who as
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister is leading Mugabe’s
campaign to “spread wealth to the people”, raked up $100 602,22 in unpaid
Zesa bills as at December 31, 2011.
Sydney Sekeramayi, Marondera-Wedza Zanu PF Senator, who is also State
Security minister and a long time Mugabe loyalist, owed $108 296.
The Daily News yesterday could not get in touch with Mugabe’s spokesperson
George Charamba or Agriculture minister Joseph Made, who acts as the
President’s farm manager to check if the First Family had managed to settle
However, sources at Zesa said a number of VIPs named in the scandal were
last week making inquiries on their bills with some making payment plans to
clear their debts.
Zesa on the other hand owes Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB) $80 million accrued
from imported power from the Mozambique power company and this has resulted
in HCB reducing its supply to Zimbabwe demanding payment.
Mangoma told the Daily News yesterday that he will be travelling to
Mozambique this week to try and negotiate for an increase of power exported
to Zimbabwe by HCB.
“I will be travelling to Mozambique this Thursday to negotiate with
authorities from that country so that we can have an increase in supply,”
Energy Minister Promises Improvement Soon in Delivery
23 March 2012
Energy Minister Elton Mangoma said power utility, ZESA, will soon ease load
shedding after successfully upgrading generation capacity at Hwange and
Kariba power stations.
Violet Gonda | Washington
Energy Minister Elton Mangoma said load shedding will ease across the
country in the next few days after the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
upgraded generation capacity at Hwange and Kariba power stations.
The minister, who was speaking Thursdays at an investment conference in
Harare, also said plans are underway to disconnect defaulters who owe the
power utility a total of $550 million in unpaid bills, money that can help
ZESA settle huge debts owed to neighbouring countries for electricity
Meanwhile, legislators traded insults in parliament Thursday following
recommendations by Heya Shoko from the Tsvangirai-led MDC that defaulting
lawmakers be barred from parliament.
There was an uproar when the Bikita West lawmaker went on to name and shame
the major defaulters who he described as “ZANU PF MPS land grabbers”, such
as Chivi Central MP Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana and Manicaland provincial
governor Christopher Mushohwe who allegedly owe ZESA $74 000 and $367 000
Director Precious Shumba of the Harare Residents Trust said poor management
of public resources across the political divide, and a culture of impunity
is contributing to the weakening of state institutions.
“It also exposes the failure of the debt collection system in ZESA Holding.”
Shumba asked: “How could they allow such a situation to prevail where a
consumer who is using electricity for free goes unchecked for such a long
time, and wait for this outcry?”
Shumba said state establishments have to be strengthened as many officials
fear victimization and abuse of power by senior civil servants, “but we have
very weak institutions where people are only safeguarded because of who they
know or which political party they belong to. That is the tragedy.”
Outrage over hefty allowances for ZESA executives
By Tichaona Sibanda
26 March 2012
The director of the Harare Residents Trust (HRT) has condemned the recent
hefty allowances awarded to ZESA executives, saying the pay deal is an
insult to the hard-pressed consumers who have to deal with daily power cuts.
The top hierarchy at the utility power company has increased their
allowances by up to 75 percent, backdated to 2009, according to the
However the weekly paper said allowances for non-managerial staff have been
slashed by 35 percent. Precious Shumba the director of HRT told SW Radio
Africa on Monday that this is the reason why his organization has repeatedly
criticized ZESA holdings for poor management and incompetence.
‘Our criticism has been without malice. It has been informed by the
situation on the ground. ZESA has been able to mobilize resources to
rehabilitate the electricity distribution network. They also had the
capacity to reform the billing system, but the challenge they face is what
to prioritize with the money they have,’ Shumba said.
He added: ‘They are now more focused on personal interests rather than
institutional interests. The economic revival of Zimbabwe is based on ZESA’s
ability to generate enough power to meet the demand of various stakeholders,
The country produces about 1320 megawatts of electricity and requires 2100
megawatts. The balance is imported from Mozambique, Zambia and the DRC.
Until March last year South Africa’s Eskom supplied 400 megawatts.
ZESA’s development manager, Ikhupuleng Dube, revealed that the country will
continue to have serious load shedding and power outages until 2014.
The power company is struggling to raise the US$125 million needed to repair
the outdated Hwange Power Station generators, with US$8 billion needed for
the country, to restore optimum power production levels.
There has been growing outrage in the country following the disclosure of
the names of top government officials who have defaulted on their power
bills. The Daily News has named and shamed several cabinet ministers and
Robert Mugabe and his wife.
The outstanding payments by several top government officials, is believed to
be over $500 million. Mugabe and his wife Grace owe ZESA over US$300,000 as
of December 2011.
Heads to roll at ZESA
Friday, 23 March 2012 13:39
EXECUTIVES at ZESA Holdings have awarded themselves hefty increases in their
allowances of up to 75 percent, backdated to 2009, at a time the loss-making
power utility has intensified both its revenue collection and load shedding,
The Financial Gazette can exclusively reveal.
Ironically, allowances for non-managerial staff have been slashed by 35
percent to contain the ballooning overheads in spite of recommendations for
a 70 percent upward adjustment of the same by the National Employment
Council for the energy industry.
Pressure has now been brought to bear on the ZESA board and management by
unions and State bureaucrats to explain the inflationary adjustments that
are way out of step with the prevailing pricing trends.
Inflation, dubbed Zimbabwe’s Number One enemy, receded in January to 4,3
percent from 4,9 percent in December. The hefty salary increases are
therefore seen not only widening the disparities between salaries for
managerial and non-managerial staff but angering ZESA custo-mers who are
unhappy with the high electricity tariffs.
Business has been passing on the extra cost to the consumer in the form of
higher prices, worsening the inflation outlook. Impeccable sources at ZESA
said heads were likely to roll, starting at board level upon the expiry of
the office tenures of certain of its members.
Adding to the pressure is the suspicion within the corridors of power that
there could be a hidden political agenda behind an expose` naming and
shaming top government officials owing the power monopoly huge sums of
The leaks came as a huge embarrassment to several government officials, who
are fuming over what they perceive to be a flagrant breach of client
confidentiality and the parastatal’s shambolic billing.
The anger has been directed at top ZESA officials who could pay dearly for
their perceived transgressions by losing their jobs.
ZANU-PF officials suspect that the matter was being handled in a partisan
manner given that the energy portfolio is presided over by a Movement for
Democratic Change appointee. They also fear that the shenanigans at the
power utility could spark public protests at a time the country is eyeing
fresh elections to bring closure to the shaky government of national unity.
It however, emerged this week that the leaks were masterminded by
non-managerial employees disgruntled by the reduction in their allowances
and the fact that their bosses had denied them salary increases.
The Zimbabwe Energy Workers’ Union (ZEEWU) this week said ZESA managers were
bleeding the parastatal, owed in excess of US$450 million by both domestic
and commercial consumers.
Representatives of ZEEWU, made up of ZESA affiliates — the Zimbabwe National
Water Authority (ZINWA), Green Fuel and the Rural Electrification Agency
(REA) — were yesterday locked in meetings with management at ZESA as it
emerged workers at the power company were increasingly getting agitated.
This week, ZEEWU told Parliament that government chefs’ failure to settle
electricity bills was a contributory factor to the poor salaries employees
were getting. It alleged that their respective companies — ZESA, ZINWA and
REA — were failing to pay them due to the huge amounts the utilities are
“The bad debtors who are not paying their utility bills are the big gurus,
and we feel if they were to pay the outstanding amounts our companies would
be able to pay us,” union president, Angeline Chitambo told the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Labour.
Energy and Power Development Minister, Elton Mangoma, confirmed this week
that the terms of office for some board members would be coming to an end in
June, but refused to divulge whether or not he would renew their terms.
“Any changes would have nothing to do with mounting pressure regarding the
issue of debts but some board members’ terms of office are coming to an end
around June,” he said.
But Minister Mangoma, who yesterday denied he was under pressure to fire top
managers, said as far as he was concerned there were no new awards at ZESA
as alleged by non-managerial staff.
“I have not seen or approved any increase. Any increase on salaries or
benefits has to be approved by the minister,” he said.
Mangoma, however, revealed that an investigation was underway to fish-out
the source of the leak to the media regarding individual debtors.
“That issue is very unfortunate. Obviously we are looking into it. We are
investigating to find out who leaked the list to the media,” he said.
Fullard Gwasirai, the ZESA spokespeson, also denied there was a 75 increment
on the allowances of top executives, saying employees were misrepresenting
“There is nothing like that (that executives awarded themselves increments).
As for non-managerial staff, you know that people will always want more
money. Generally people are not always happy with their salaries,” said
Economist, Willia Bonyongwe said while citizens should pay for services
rendered by the power company, ZESA tariffs were above normal.
ZESA is one of the utilities that has had the most rapid tariff increases
after the country adopted multiple currencies in 2009.
Cumulatively, these tariff increases are close to 100 percent, justifying
calls for their review given the liquidity challenges on the market and the
low profit margins business is getting.
“As for agriculture, there are limited credit facilities on the market and
farmers have to wait for a long time to get paid. Agriculture has always had
a tariff of its own, which was abolished last year. That is when bills shot
up. When you look at margins in agriculture, you cannot produce food under
these tariffs”, said Bonyongwe.
“Under the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme, there was a proposed
discount of 20 percent on commercial rates, which would benefit farmers and
this was not implemented because the fiscus has no capacity for that
subsidy. A proposal to forgo value added tax (on the electricity bill) and
the rural electrification levy was then proposed to enable government to
effect this subsidy but again that recommendation was not followed through.
It is important to support local agriculture because depending on imports
and donors is not sustainable,” she added.
Power outages intensified countrywide this week with most of the businesses
and government offices running on generators.
There is also anger that ZESA has mainly been switching off ordinary
citizens, sparring so-called sensitive or classified government bureaucrats
some of whom owe between US$150 000 and US$350 000.
Industry, which is currently struggling to rump-up production, has also
taken the power utility to court over what it believes are unjustified
Last August, the Competition and Tariff Commission ordered ZESA to write off
all pre-2009 bills and justify some load-shedding programmes as well as to
bill their clients on actual meter readings.
The power utility has since appealed the order at the Administrative Court.
- ZESA to ease load-shedding: Mangoma
- Mugabe attacks Mangoma over leak of ZESA bills
- Mugabe fumes over Zesa bill
- Defaulting Cabinet Ministers Negotiate to Settle Huge Electricity Bills
- Farmers Engage Zimbabwe Power Utility Over Huge Outstanding Bills
- Power cut hits Mugabe office, city
- VIPs confirm Zesa bills
- Outrage over top government ZESA defaulters
- Industry wants Zesa board fired
- Standard Comment: Zesa denials shield electricity looters