Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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200MW power deal on course

200MW power deal on course

Dr Misheck Sibanda

Dr Misheck Sibanda

Felex Share Senior Reporter
Three foreign companies have been enlisted for the installation of an emergency diesel power plant at Dema substation in Seke as Government moves in to ameliorate power shortages bedeviling the country.

The emergency power plant, being introduced as a stop-gap measure while big power generating projects materialise, is expected to provide 200 megawatts to the national grid.

Installation of the plant will be done at the Dema sub-station and should be complete by February next year.

In a letter to the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, Energy and Power Development Permanent Secretary Mr Partson Mbiriri said a technical committee was already in place to steer the installation of the plant.

Proposals from the three potential bidders were expected to be submitted on Tuesday while the State Procurement Board has been notified of the development.

“Following Cabinet’s decision that a 200MW emergency diesel power plant be established at Dema substation, Seke, a technical committee has already been constituted and three potential bidders have already been requested to submit their proposals on 10 November 2015,” Mr Mbiriri said.

“This will be followed by urgent adjudication and awarding of the contract. Whereas, I formally informed the State Procurement Board of the Cabinet’s decision, the board would rather be informed by the minister who presides over the State Procurement Act.”

Though Mr Mbiriri did not mention the three companies, sources privy to the developments disclosed the companies as Agrekko, a European company; APR Energy headquartered in the United States and Altaaqa Global from the Middle East.

All the companies have done successful projects — at short notice —in a number of African countries such as Angola, Cameroon, South Africa, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Libya, Mali, Mozambique, Zambia and Senegal.

Tanzania, which announced plans to switch off all hydropower plants last month due to low water levels in its dams, is renting these diesel-powered generators provided by the emergency power suppliers.

The emergency plants are expensive to run and the Ministry of Energy has already notified that beginning February, Zimbabweans have to “bite the bullet” and embrace significant power tariff increases to reduce the load-shedding hours.

Mr Mbiriri said every household had to be on either a prepaid meter or a smart meter.

“It is an established fact that diesel power plants are expensive,” he said.

“Zesa Holdings must prepare for this high operating cost by ensuring that more customers are put on prepaid meters or smart meters.”

Indications are that Government wants to rope in a foreign company to install smart meters on all outstanding points.

The foreign company’s proposal, according to Mr Mbiriri, is to “install the smart meters off Zesa’s poor balance sheet, subject to terms and conditions which are acceptable to Zesa Holdings”.

Consumers are being levied about 9,86c/kWh and the use of diesel generators is likely to see cost moving to 14c/kWh.

The Dema emergency plant will later be complemented by the 120MW that will come from the Mutare Peaking Power Plant, which will take just under 18 months to complete.

The plant is one of the priority projects targeted under Zim-Asset and Zesa engineers have done due diligence on Ansaldo Energia, the Italian company that will supply the contractor, Helcraw Electrical (Pvt) Ltd, with equipment.

A ground-breaking ceremony is expected soon to pave way for construction.

The country has been experiencing acute power outages due to the low water levels at Kariba Dam with some residents going for up to 18 hours a day without electricity.

Zimbabwe is generating half of the required 2 200MW and is working on various other projects, including expansion of existing power plants that will produce over 3 000MW in the next six years.

The projects, some of which are funded by the Chinese, are worth an estimated $5 billion and are in line with the provisions of Zim-Asset.

Climate change threatens mega dam project

Climate change threatens mega dam project

November 6, 2015 in NationalNews

ZIMBABWE’S planned Batoka Gorge power project on the Zambezi River is expected to generate 2 400 megawatts (MW) of electricity, up from an initial 1 600 MW, but the worsening power cuts, blamed on low water levels have renewed concerns about the effects of climate change on mega dams.


In the past two months, the country’s energy utility has increased load-shedding, with rolling power blackouts being experienced for up to 20 hours across the country per day.

The country has, for years, relied on hydroelectricity and is one of a number of African countries that are banking on hydropower to spur economic growth, with multibillion dollar dams expected to generate thousands of .

While there is no timetable of when construction of the $3 billion Batoka Gorge Dam will commence and whose eventual economic dividend will only be realised after a decade of construction, it will add much-needed energy in Zimbabwe.

Officials say on completion of the Batoka hydropower plant, the country will be a power exporter.

However, the long running power crisis has stalled economic expansion and has, in fact, forced the closure of major companies, the latest being Sable Chemicals, which was this month switched off the national grid in what energy minister Samuel Undenge said was part of short-term strategy to avail energy to other sectors.

But the switch-off forced the country’s sole fertiliser plant to shut down operations and left more than 500 employees jobless, company officials say. The company owes the power utility $150 million.

According to Undenge, 80% of Zimbabwe does not have access to electricity, and the Batoka Gorge hydropower plant, a joint project with Zambia that will draw water from the Zambezi, a trans-boundary water body shared by eight countries, is expected to boost power production and bring electricity to remote rural areas.

Early this month, Undenge told parliament that the Zambezi River catchment area was affected by rainfall patterns of other countries.

“Water is still flowing into the Zambezi River from the north, but we are drawing more water than what is flowing in, hence the continued decline in the water level,” Undende said, explaining the reduced power production.

It is these concerns about low water levels that have experts worried, with questions being raised about whether mega dams are viable investments in the long term, citing climate uncertainty and concerns about reduced run-off that would affect dam water levels and ultimately reduce power generation.

The worsening power crisis in both Zimbabwe and Zambia is being blamed on low water levels at the Zambezi River.

Researchers at International Rivers, an organisation that looks at the state of the world’s rivers and how local communities can benefit from them, warn big
dam projects could be rendered useless in the long term because of climate change and reduced run-off.

They favour smaller dams for localised power generation, but smaller dams also cost money which Zimbabwe does not have.

Last year, the climate ministry announced that the country will be constructing more dams to cushion the county against climate uncertainty, at the same time advising heavy industrial electricity consumers to construct their own power generating plants.

In the absence of these private power generators, the Batoka Gorge Dam is being touted as the ultimate solution to the longstanding energy deficit, despite warnings that the project could present its own problems as it does not address climate-related future realities.

Peter Bosshard, interim executive director of International Rivers, says the Zambezi river basin, the location of the Batoka Gorge Dam, has one of the most variable climates in the world, which will increase the dam’s hydrological risks.

“The (UN’s) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that the river (Zambezi) may suffer the worst potential climate impact among eleven major African river basins,” he said.

“Multiple studies have estimated that stream flow in the Zambezi will decrease by 26% to 40% by 2050,” he said, adding that “in spite of these serious predictions, the proposed Batoka Gorge Dam has not been evaluated for the risks of climate change.”

But Hodson Makurira, a senior hydrologist at the University of Zimbabwe does not agree.

“That would be an oversimplification of a complicated and highly uncertain projection of future events.

“The same climate change predictions are forecasting an increase in extreme events, droughts and floods. You would (then) want to capture as much flood water as possible through increased storage. That would cushion you against periods of low flows,” he said.

“Nobody knows the exact magnitude of reduction in flows due to climate change so it may still make economic sense to build dams.”

Bosshard said the dam project’s feasibility study dates from 1993, “and climate change considerations have not been integrated”.

“The project is based on historical stream flow data, which do not reflect future realities. Investors, financiers and tax payers should be aware that the studies for this multi-billion dollar project seriously over-estimate its economic viability,” he said.

But for Undenge, who is increasingly under pressure to solve Zimbabwe’s energy crisis, neither financing nor climate change will stop this ambitious mega dam.



175 MW solar plant on the cards

175 MW solar plant on the cards

Zimbabwe is among the few countries in Southern Africa with the best conditions for solar photovoltaic

Zimbabwe is among the few countries in Southern Africa with the best conditions for solar photovoltaic

Business Reporter
Solar projects which include De Green, Geo-base, and YellowAfrica, Plum Solar and Oursun have capacity to produce $160 Megawatts once construction is complete. Zimbabwe is among the few countries in Southern Africa with the best conditions for solar photovoltaic and is currently attracting investors in that sector.

Sinogy Power Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited plans to construct a 175 Megawatts solar photovoltaic power plant at Chapfucheche Farm in Beitbridge for the purpose of electricity generation and supply.

The solar plant will include the construction of a 220 kilometre transmission line for the transmission of power from the proposed Sinogy Solar Plant.

In a statement yesterday, Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe confirmed receiving an application for a licence from the solar company.

“ZERA has received an application from Sinogy Power Zimbabwe to construct, own, operate and maintain a 175 MW solar photovoltaic power plant for the purpose of generation and supply of electricity in Zimbabwe.

“The solar project will also include construction of a transmission line from the proposed Sinogy Power Plant to the existing Triangle 132/36KV substation. The proposed plant will be located at Chapfucheche farm in Beitbridge,” said the Authority.

The licence application by Sinogy was done in terms of the provisions of Section 40 of the Electricity Act (chapter 13:19) of 2002.

The country has over the years witnessed erratic power supplies, which have severely affected industry performance.

Last month, the Zimbabwe Power Company signed the country’s first national solar project with private company, Intratrek Zimbabwe, for the construction of a 100 megawatt Gwanda power plant.

The deal paves way for Intratrek and its engineering, procurement and construction partner, CHINT Electric, to start looking for the $202 million required to fund the project In an interview with the Herald Business recently, ZERA chief executive Engineer Gloria Magombo said they have completed the licensing of solar power projects with an estimated construction cost of a around $250 million.

Zimbabwe has high solar radiation averaging 20MJ per square metre and solar energy can be harnessed for pumping drinking water for rural communities, electricity production, powering lights and appliances at rural institutions, and water heating in urban areas.

$87m for Bulawayo power Station upgrade

$87m for Bulawayo power Station upgrade

Bulawayo Thermal Power Station

Bulawayo Thermal Power Station

Brighton Gumbo, Business Reporter
THE upgrading of the Bulawayo Thermal Power Station has been set for the first half of 2016.

The government has already secured an $87 million credit line from the Export-Import Bank of India to finance the upgrade.

The plant was set up in 1947 as an undertaking by the municipality of Bulawayo with an installed capacity of 120MW but can now only generate 30MW due to aged infrastructure.

The main materials needed for the generation of electricity are coal, water, chemicals, oil, greases and spare parts for maintenance.

Zesa spokesman Fullard Gwasira yesterday said the upgrading exercise would take two years to complete.

He said the exercise would add 90MW to the national grid from its current generation.
“The project is expected to go to tender on the Indian market in December 2015 with actual works having been proposed to commence in the first half of 2016,” said Gwasira.

He said the renovation will involve replacement of obsolete chain grate boiler technology with circulating fluidized boilers (CFB), a new form of technology that burns various grades of coal more efficiently.

“Other works will involve the refurbishment of turbines and generators as well as the balance of plant, thus, enhancing operations at the small thermal power station,” Gwasira added.

“Some of the advantages, which will be realised from the repowering exercise include less carry-over of unburnt coal as well as reduced emissions into the atmosphere.”

He said the addition of 90MW will also lead to a reduction in load shedding, which will have a positive impact on industrial productivity.

Gwasira added that the project will create employment to the Bulawayo community.

The signing ceremony for the credit line was done on October 27, 2015 between the government of Zimbabwe and the Export and Import Bank of India.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa represented Zimbabwe while the Export-Import Bank of India was represented by its chairman and managing director Yaduvendra Mathur.

The credit line has a tenure of 13 years, made up of a 10-year repayment period and three years as grace period with an interest rate of two percent per annum.

The loan comes with a commitment fee of 0,5 percent and a management fee of 0,5 percent.

Minister Chinamasa said implementation of the project would improve the supply of electricity, thereby boosting economic performance as it reduces the cost of production and reliability of power.

To date the Exim Bank has extended several loans to Zimbabwe including a $49, 9 million facility for the purchase of vehicles for the Hospitality and Tourism Industry Ministry and $13 million to Hwange Colliery Company for the purchase of mining equipment.

The bank has also provided a loan of $28 million for the upgrading of Deka pumping station to support the cooling system of Hwange Thermal Power Station.

Hwange refurbishment timely

Editorial Comment: Hwange refurbishment timely

Hwange Thermal Power Plant

Hwange Thermal Power Plant

WE welcome the anticipated release of $1,1 billion early next month by Chinese financial institutions for the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station as it will go a long way in easing the current power shortages. We reported yesterday that the first tranche from mega deals signed by President Robert Mugabe and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during his State visit to China in August last year, will be ready next month allowing the expansion of the HPS, being carried out by Chinese firm Sinohydro, to start in earnest.

When completed, the $1,1 billion project will add 600 megawatts to the national grid — a major milestone as the country currently generates under 1,300MW against a peak national demand of 2,200MW. The envisaged release of the $1,1 billion for Hwange represents a major step forward for power generation and will see HPS, the country’s oldest coal-powered station producing about 650MW, almost doubling its capacity.

The government awarded Sino Hydro Corporation the tender to refurbish the power station in June last year after another Chinese company, China Machinery and Engineering Company, had failed to secure funding more than a year after getting the contract. The refurbishment of Hwange is expected to be completed in 2018 alongside the expansion of Kariba South power station which will add 300MW to its the current output of 750MW at a cost of $355 million.

Both projects are being funded by China’s Eximbank.

Other private power producers are at different stages of implementing their projects and from 2016 when at least some of them are complete, Zimbabwe can expect a reduction in load shedding. This is certainly good news for the country and we applaud the Chinese for sticking to the terms of their deal and agreeing to release the money for the commencement of refurbishment works at Hwange.

The combined 900MW expected after the completion of Kariba South and Hwang projects will put Zimbabwe in a position where it might not only meet its domestic power demands but could see it export power to its neighbours.

In the interim, we urge independent power producers contracted by the government to expedite the implementation of their projects so that they assist in ameliorating the current power shortages ahead of the completion of the major works at Kariba and Hwange. The release of the money for Hwange will confound critics who slated the country’s mega deals with China.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Energy and Power Development Deputy Minister Tsitsi Muzenda confirmed as much when they told legislators attending a pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls on Monday that the power deficit affecting the country would be a thing of the past in the near future.

“We have been working on Hwange 7 and 8 and it will add 600 megawatts into the national grid,” said Minister Chinamasa. “We are looking at $1,1 billion to do it and we should get the money for that in early December from Chinese financial institutions. Financial closure will be done in December.”

Deputy Minister Muzenda told the MPs that the government was also implementing a number of projects that would address power problems bedevilling the country.

“To date, as of September 30, 2015, 33 percent of work (at Kariba South) has been completed,” she said. “Pre-work at Hwange 7 and 8 has been done. I’m also pleased to say that the financial closure of this project is going to be signed by December. We have also to date awarded 300MW solar plants to three companies.”

During the same seminar, Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa told the legislators that government was in discussion with South Africa on the importation of about 300MW that will exclusively be for the mining industry.

He said the power shortages being experienced have seriously hampered mining operations, affecting efforts to turnaround the economy.

“We recognise that if we do not sort out power and lose eight hours of power in the mines everyday, all the companies will go on care and maintenance,” said Minister Chidhakwa.

“We can’t afford to do that. We have approached the South Africans. We have opened discussions and yesterday, I was briefed that we are very close to arriving at an agreement for an approximately 300 megawatts, which we will send to the mines.”

He said mines would pay eight cents per kWh for the electricity from South Africa, compared to 13 cents per kWh which they are paying to Zesa Holdings. This is certainly a step in the right direction considering that some mines were considering shutting down due to the 25 percent reduction in electricity supply from Zesa.

We commend the government for being proactive and responding to the concerns of the mining industry which is crucial for the country’s economic revival efforts.

‘High cost of power to affect industrial output’

‘High cost of power to affect industrial output’

KARIBAGolden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
The high cost of power occasioned by the deficit blighting the entire domestic economy and the country in general will negatively affect industrial production, revenues and profits across productive sectors, financial analysts have warned.

Market watchers have forecast the debilitating power shortage to persist until thermal power projects come on board or water levels at the Kariba Dam have improved.

Kariba Dam, where Zimbabwe has a 750 megawatt hydro power station, was until recently the biggest source of electricity for the country before its output was cut to just 475MW.

Zimbabwe faces a crippling power deficit, spawning rolling and spontaneous outages for both industry and domestic users, as it did not invest in new capacity for about three decades.

The Southern African country requires an average of 2 200 megawatts at peak periods of demand, but is currently only able to churn out an average of 900MW after Kariba South was forced to scale down due to drastic fall in lake water levels.

The fall in lake water levels, according to the Zambezi River Authority, which administers the border river, was caused poor hydrological year around the river’s catchment area.

The knock on effect of the demand/supply mismatch due to constrained and insufficient generation capacity is forecast to result in low industrial output, fall in revenues and profit margins.

In its monthly snapshot for October IH Securities said the high cost of energy due to extensive use of fuel powered generators for electricity has strong negative bearing on industry.

“Therefore output across most industries will be subdued in quarter three (Q3;2015), affecting revenues, operating costs are likely to be impacted by higher generator use,” said IH Securities.

Government, through Zimbabwe Power Corporation is working on many initiatives to bridge the power deficit and projections indicate that additional supply from a thermal station will come through at least 42 months after financial closure.

ZPC has signed a $1,1 billion deal with Sino Hydro, also contracted to add 300MW at Kariba, to extend Hwange Power Station by adding units 7 and 8 for an additional 600MW.

Hwange has capacity for 920MW, but currently averages 480MW due to outdated equipment, hence the projected negative impact on the economy due to shortage of the key enabler.

The forecast lands credence to the general picture recently painted by financials released by listed companies including corporate behemoths like Econet, Innscor and Delta, which have registered decline either in revenue or profits.

The myriad of challenges besetting the companies has forced the majority of companies to trade down (cut prices) in to drive low the aggregate demand amid the liquidity squeeze.

Meanwhile, the difficult operating environment has seen activity on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange continue to be subdued with October turnover falling 25 percent to $12,88 million.

Average daily trades came in at $585 000 with Econet, Afdis and Delta making the biggest contribution to total volumes trade at 25 percent, 24 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Rain-making for Lake Kariba

Rain-making for Lake Kariba

Walter Nyamukondiwa in KARIBA
TRADITIONAL leaders on both sides of Lake Kariba have been conducting rain-making ceremonies in line with their Tonga tradition in a bid to stop further decline of water levels in the lake, which is crucial to both Zimbabwe and Zambia. There is widespread concern among people around the lake and the country owing to decreasing water levels which have been attributed to low rainfall in the catchment area, while some chiefs argued that it could be as a result of failure to conduct traditional rites.

Comparative October figures from 2013-15 show that there is gradual decline of water levels as Lake Kariba is now 23 percent full compared to 62 percent in 2015 and 66 percent in 2013. Poor rainfall on the catchment area, plus high generation of power have been cited as the reasons for declining water levels. The water levels have not gone down to such levels since the 1995-96 season amid concerns the river god, Nyaminyami, could be in need of appeasement.

The Nyaminyami, otherwise known as the Zambezi River god or Zambezi Snake spirit, is one of the most important gods of the Tonga people which is believed to protect and give them sustenance. The Nyaminyami is described as having the body of a snake and the head of a fish. The low water levels have affected electricity generation for both Zimbabwe and Zambia which depend on the Kariba Hydro Power Station.

Chief Nebiri of Kariba on the Zimbabwean side conducted a public “bira” on October 17, while Chief Chipepo of the Valley Tonga people in Zambia had conducted his ceremony earlier.

Chiefs Nebiri and his Zimbabwean counterpart Chief Msampakaruma attended the ceremony in Zambia. Kariba District administrator Mr Amigo Mhlanga confirmed the development, adding that a series of such ceremonies have been lined up. Chief Msampakaruma is expected to hold his bira on October 31 and other chiefs in the district are expected to attend, together with Chief Chipepo of Zambia.

“I can confirm that a bira was held in Chief Nebiri’s area on Saturday, October 17 in line with Tonga traditions,” said Mr Mhlanga. “However, I am not privy to what they said in their prayers during the rites. It’s for them.” Mr Mhlanga said chiefs have not been able to regularly conduct the rain-making rites owing to lack financial resources to feed the people.

“We have, however, managed to come up with initiatives to assist them hold their biras as and when they are due,” he said. The Zambezi River Authority, which manages Lake Kariba, also confirmed the biras. “ZRA respects the traditional cultures of the communities through which it operates,” said communications manager Mrs Elizabeth Karonga.

“However, ZRA does not direct the traditional rites, but supports the initiatives as it did when Chief Nebire of the Tonga/Korekore people of the Zambezi Valley in Kariba District held his first ever public ‘Bira’ on Saturday, 17th October 2015 in his chiefdom. “This followed an invitation to a similar ceremony by Chief Chipepo of the Valley Tonga people in Zambia. The displaced communities of the Zambezi Valley in Zambia hold annual traditional rites in their chiefdoms as do all other tribes.”

Mrs Karonga said ZRA could not do much to arrest the declining water levels, but called for controlled water usage.

PC Says Kariba And Hwange Exceeded Productions Target In Q3

PC Says Kariba And Hwange Exceeded Productions Target In Q3

22 Oct 2015
Hwange Power Station

Hwange Power Station

THE Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) has said it surpassed its energy production target for the third quarter by 1. 1 8 percent, despite reduced generation capacity at Kariba Power Station.

Zimbabwe generates its power from the Hwange Thermal Power Station, the Kariba Hydro-electric Power Station and three small thermal power stations, Munyati in Kwekwe, Harare and Bulawayo.

ZPC managing director Noah Gwariro said the two main power stations, Kariba and Hwange, had exceeded their production targets for the quarter.

“In the period July to September 2015, Zimbabwe Power Company sent out a total of 2,545.68GWh of energy against a target of 2,515.93GWh, surpassing its target by 1.18 percent,” he said in a quarterly performance update.

A Gigawatt (GW) equals 1 000 megawatts of electricity and this unit is often used for large power plants or power grids.

“This fruitful result was due to high plant availability which was recorded at the stations and the improved performance of Hwange unit 4 during the quarter following its successful major overhaul.”

Gwariro said the ZPC faced a number of challenges during the period under review mainly the receding lake level at Kariba, which resulted in the reduction of power generation to a maximum average of 475 megawatts.

But, Gwariro said the smaller power stations had failed to meet their production targets mainly due to low boiler availability and the unsuccessful commissioning of turbo-alternator 1 at Harare Power Station.

“The decline in revenue collection by our sister organization, ZETDC, has also had a negative impact on our operations. This, coupled with the current economic environment, has prompted us to look at various means by which we can reduce costs in order to sustain our operations,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gwariro said work on increasing the country’s power generation capacity at Kariba and
Hwange power stations was on course with the projects at various stages of implementation.

“To date, the Kariba 300MW extension project is progressing well, and currently at 29 percent completion. Initial project activities (topographic and geotechnical surveys) are in progress for the Hwange expansion project, and we are also working towards financial closure.”

He said other projects including the Gairezi hydro power project, the Mutare Peaking Power project and the repowering of the three small thermal power stations were also being pursued to boost energy supplies.

He said the Harare repowering contract was awarded to Jaguar of India and is awaiting financial closure.

“India Exim Bank has offered ZPC a $87 mln line of credit for repowering Bulawayo Power Station, while adjudication reports for Munyati repowering are currently at the State Procurement Board,” he said. FinX

Kariba water levels keep falling

Kariba water levels keep falling
Engineer Chifamba

Engineer Chifamba

Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter
ZESA Holdings might reduce further the power generation at Kariba Power Station as the current water levels at the lake keep falling. ZESA and its Zambian equivalent, Zambia Electricity Supply Company (ZESCO), were allocated 45 billion cubic metres of water this year but there is a likelihood of a further reduction to 10-15 billion cubic metres, a situation that effects a reduction in power generation by the two utilities.

Speaking at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce business breakfast yesterday, ZESA chief executive Engineer Josh Chifamba said Kariba remains the anchor power generation plant for ZESA because it is a value driver for both the investor and customers.

“The amount of water allocated to ZESA and ZESCO is 45 billion cubic metres for this year and that allocation has since been reduced. This will see us producing 475 megawatts against the previous 750 megawatts. It is likely that next year, between the two utilities, ZRA will make available about 10-15 billion cubic metres which will then move our generation downwards to about 245MW,” said Engineer Chifamba.

“In the mix of our generation capacity, Kariba has the lowest cost of production. So if we lose Kariba then we also lose value. The fact is that any alternative solution that comes will always have a higher cost compared to Kariba.” In trying to mitigate energy challenges bedevilling the country, ZESA plans to set up a quick-win diesel powered generation plant to be completed in about 18 months in Mutare.

Reports say, ZESA has sent engineers to Italy and India for due diligence on the company to supply equipment for the construction of the plant expected to produce 100-300MW. Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge said the advantage with emergency power generation plants is that the final tariff will be blended in the tariffs of all generators. This means it will be before 35 cents per kilowatt hour.

“Tariff adjustments are inevitable in 2016 but we will make sure that they are minimum. Zambia recently announced a tariff hike of almost 10 percent and the situation we are in is not normal and therefore we need to ‘bite the bullet’,” said Dr Undenge.

He said power will not come cheap, and sacrifices have to be made in order to lessen load shedding. Zambian Deputy Ambassador to Zimbabwe Humphrey Mwenya said Zambia is facing the same electricity challenges contrary to reports that the situation was rather stable there.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Power Company said it surpassed its energy production target for the third quarter by 1,18 percent, despite reduced generation capacity at Kariba Power Station. Zimbabwe generates its power from the Hwange Thermal Power Station, the Kariba Hydro-electric Power Station and three small thermal power stations – Munyati in Kwekwe, Harare and Bulawayo. ZPC managing director Noah Gwariro said the two main power stations, Kariba and Hwange, had exceeded their production targets for the quarter.

“In the period July to September 2015, Zimbabwe Power Company sent out a total of 2,545.68GWh of energy against a target of 2,515.93GWh, surpassing its target by 1,18 percent,” he said in a quarterly performance update.

A Gigawatt (GW) equals 1 000 megawatts of electricity and this unit is often used for large power plants or power grids. “This fruitful result was due to high plant availability which was recorded at the stations and the improved performance of Hwange Unit 4 during the quarter following its successful major overhaul.”

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.

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