THE State-owned power utility, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), has announced that the country’s electricity situation is now precarious as power generation at Kariba has plunged from a peak of 1050MW to only 360MW.
Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said the situation has been exacerbated by the fact that a technical fault at the Hwange Thermal Power Station has knocked down down some of the generators, leaving the nation on the brink of darkness.
Said Gwasira in a statement: “Zesa is implementing stage 2 load shedding due to a technical fault at Hwange and the loss of one of the Stage 2 Units at 1700hrs. This lead to a loss of about 160MW. Load shedding hours and affected areas have extended beyond the publicized schedule.”
He further stated that even though Zimbabwe was getting 400MW from Eskom in South Africa, that would not be enough to save the situation hence the escalation of load shedding to stage 2.
According to Zesa, load shedding at stage 2 means power outages can stretch for up to 18 hours a day. Only key institutions such as referral hospitals and key military and State security facilities may be saved from the power crisis.
“Indeed we are getting power from Eskom up to 400MW. The major challenge is that the gap being left by Kariba is progressively getting bigger, from 1050MW down to 360MW.
“It’s this difference in addition to plant breakdown which is driving load shedding,” said Mr. Gwasira.