Work underway to restore Hwange power generation after flooding: ZPC

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BULAWAYO – Zimbabwe lost 400 MW of power after rains overnight on Saturday caused flooding at the Hwange Thermal Power Station.

The country, already facing a major power deficit, was only producing 424 MW on Monday morning against a peak demand of 1,700 MW.

The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) said in a statement on Sunday that unusually heavy rains in Hwange “flooded the station’s ash pump house and cooling water pumps.”

“Coal stocks were consequently dampened, leading to forced shutdown of the station. Efforts currently are in place to resume generation at the plant. Units 1 and 4 returned to service this morning, while unit 2 is expected back in service by day end.”

Data from ZPC showed that Hwange was contributing just 64 MW to the national grid on Monday morning, although it has a current installed capacity of 400 MW.

The Kariba hydro-power station is only able to produce 360 MW currently, against a capacity of 1,050 MW, owing to low water levels at the Kariba Dam.

Drenched … The Hwange Thermal Power Station was flooded after unusually heavy rains on Saturday

Zimbabwe is currently importing power from South Africa to bridge a huge supply gap which has seen households go for up to 18 hours without power daily.

Work is currently underway to add a further 600 MW at Hwange – but work on the upgrade is only expected to be completed in 2022.

Zimbabwe has raised electricity tariffs to fund imports, but the measure has not had success as Mozambique and South Africa will only offer limited supplies until Zimbabwe’s power utility, Zesa, can settle over US$50 million in debt.