Govt engages Zambia, Moza over power supply

Fortune Chasi

GOVERNMENT has opened fresh talks with Zambia and Mozambique for additional electricity supply as the situation remains dire due to obsolete infrastructure at Hwange Thermal Power Station and low water levels at Kariba Dam.

Briefing journalists after Cabinet yesterday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Energy minister Fortune Chasi had engaged Zambia and Mozambique for help to stabilise the power supply situation in the country after Eskom of South Africa had come to the party.

“The minister (Chasi) also advised Cabinet that discussions with HCB of Mozambique and Zesco of Zambia for the provision of additional power imports are on-going. The minister expressed hope that the discussions will soon be concluded, thereby further improving the electricity supply situation in the country,” Mutsvangwa said.

Zimbabwe has been battling to supply adequate energy due to low water levels in Lake Kariba, the country’s major source for power generation. The lake is shared between Zimbabwe and Zambia, but the situation in the country has worsened, with the power utility effecting prolonged load-shedding.

Unlike in Zambia where load-shedding has been for less than five hours a day, in Zimbabwe electricity has been available for at least less than five hours a day, forcing many businesses to operate on alternative sources of energy such as generators and solar.

The situation had steadily improved in recent weeks owing to the resumption of imports from Eskom.

But it has since turned worse after the break down of power generation units at Hwange Thermal Power Station.

“The situation recently took a dip owing to the break-down of three electricity generation units at the Hwange Thermal Power Station. The minister, however, assured Cabinet that the situation should stabilise within a few days’ time, since two of the three broken-down units are now expected to return to service soon,” Mutsvangwa said.

According to Mutsvangwa, Cabinet also expressed concern over the rampant theft of Zesa power cables and transformers in many parts of the country.

“Steps are underway to introduce stern measures to deal with all those involved in this heinous crime,” she said.