Prolonged power cuts will hurt the already struggling Zimbabwean economy

A street vendor prepares fried chips for sale using firewood, using candlelight and a cellphone, as the country faces 18-hour daily power cuts, in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 30, 2019. Picture taken July 30, 2019. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo - RC1693321C10

In mid-September this year, Zimbabwe’s power utility company imposed load shedding schedules lasting up to 12 hours. Efforts to boost electricity generation in the country have been hampered by corruption, particularly during the tender processing. However, these power cuts are set to further weaken an already fragile economy.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZETDC), without revealing when the situation will be normalised, cited a combination of limited generation capacity and repairs to power infrastructure as the cause of the load shedding.

Zimbabwe heavily relies on its only hydropower plant, the Kariba South Power Station, which is the biggest power generation plant in the country, with a total generation capacity of 1050 megawatts (MW).

The country also has four thermal power stations including Hwange Power Station, the largest coal-fired power station with a capacity of 920MW.

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