Zimbabwe fuel and electricity situation: New Energy Minister Fortune Chasi gives update

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Government remains committed to solving fuel and electricity shortages through engaging the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on long-term financial mechanisms, new Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi has said. Speaking at the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority’s ISO Quality Management Standard Certification celebrations in Harare, Minister Chasi said the financial mechanisms had already been formulated and were awaiting implementation.

“The Government remains committed to eradicate fuel queues and is working on long-term financing mechanisms with the RBZ which will see the supply gaps being eliminated over time.

“We are working closely with the power utility to ensure that there is increased power generation from different sources other than Kariba Power Station.

“As a new minister, I expect to see results and strategies that resolve some of the challenges and proposals to restructure the sector for a better performance.

“We are not an oil-producing country not by choice but by geographical location yet we need fuel to run our transport system,” he said.

Speaking at Kariba North Power Station on Thursday, Minister Chasi said they were also exploring electricity trade-offs with Mozambique.

The trade-off proposition seeks to leverage on abundant water in the Cahora Bassa Basin following Cyclone Idai, amid fears that the continued discharge of large volumes of water during generation at Kariba South and North power stations was causing flooding.

Coupled with prioritisation of demand management, Minister Chasi said the country would significantly reduce the electricity import bill in the wake of depressed supply from Kariba, Hwange, Munyati, Bulawayo and Harare thermal power stations.
“We need to understand the source of the problem that our counterparts in Mozambique are facing as a result of Cyclone Idai on the generation side of electricity,” said Minister Chasi.

“We do have a responsibility to work with them and try and help with this particular problem.
“But we also have a need as Zimbabwe for electricity so we are going to be engaging and I am told that our officials are going to be meeting soon.”

Minister Chasi, who was on a tour of Kariba South Power Station, said the Government would engage Mozambican officials to thrash out a mutually beneficial arrangement.

He undertook the tour to understand the causes of load-shedding, with a view to proffering possible solutions.
Minister Chasi said a number of options have been discussed, which are aimed at ensuring the country has enough electricity for domestic and industrial use.

“There are things which Government can do and there are also things that consumers can also do. There is need for intervention on the generation side and also serious intervention on the consumption side,” he said.

Some measures being explored to cut electricity usage include introducing prepaid electricity meters on Government complexes and assessment of usage to minimise load-shedding.

Briefing the minister at Kariba North Power Station, Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) chief executive Engineer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said the proposal was being explored to benefit the two countries.

Eng Munodawafa said a trade-off arrangement was more desirable than the inclination to monetise the transaction by power utilities.

He said discussions were expected to be conducted by the end of May with a clear position on how much HCB would supply ZESA and Zesco.

“If we agree on that, there will be some mitigation. For us (ZRA) maybe they can give 500MW which can be shared between the two utilities.

“We have already in principle agreed with the two utilities on that arrangement,” said Eng Munodawafa.

— Herald


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