Drama in Zimbabwe as electricity woes return: Urban areas plunged into darkness again

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AFTER two months of uninterrupted power supply, load-shedding has rolled back with several urban areas going for many hours without electricity.

Ahead of the elections, Zesa Holdings announced that days of power cuts were over with President Emmerson Mnangagwa taking credit for solving incessant power outages through the commissioning of two new units at Hwange Power Station.

Residents, who spoke to NewsDay from Ruwa, Chitungwiza and Harare, said they were enduring more than six hours of load-shedding.

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Zesa spokesperson George Manyaya, professed ignorance about the resurging power cuts.

“I do not know if there are any power cuts, you have to check on our website to see the electricity we are producing,” he said.

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NewsDay has established that the Zimbabwe Power Company website has been down for more than a month.

The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), which manages Kariba Dam and Zambezi River water said the dam got less than expected inflows this past rainfall season.

As a result, the authority slashed water allocation for power generation by a whopping 25%.

“With the 2022/23 rainfall season having effectively ended in April, the Kariba catchment is no longer experiencing any rainfall activities. As per normal trend following the end of a rainfall season, flows of the Zambezi River and its tributaries are now receding and this downward trend is expected to continue until the commencement of the next rainfall season (2023/24 rainfall season),” ZRA said in a statement on its website.

Zimbabwe has for years been reeling under severe power shortages.

They worsened late last year when the main electricity source, a hydro plant at the giant Kariba Dam in the north, suffered low water levels caused by recurrent droughts.

In March this year, the power utility said it was switching on a new 300 megawatt coal-fired unit financed by the Chinese in a bid to ease repeated power outages.

Another 300 megawatt unit at Hwange was switched on in June with the government declaring that power cuts were over.

But locals greeted the news of the end of outages with scepticism, as some said they were sitting in the dark as the announcement was being made.

— NewsDay


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