The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) says it cannot guarantee uninterrupted power supply during Zimbabwe’s matches at the African Cup of Nations finals, which get underway on June 21.
ZESA is currently implementing “Stage Two” power cuts, which have seen Zimbabwean households and businesses going for up to 15 hours daily without electricity.
The escalation of the power cuts, from the 10-hour “Stage 1”, has been caused by reduced generation at hydro-powered Kariba owing to low water levels, and a breakdown at the coal-powered Hwange power station.
ZESA spokesman Fullard Gwasira said: “Load shedding is a function of demand and supply. Demand is what our customers demand from our power stations, and if there’s a mismatch we have no option but to curtail the demand. Demand curtailment is what we call load shedding.
“We are generating relatively well at the moment but because of the age of our power stations, they have become unreliable. While we will do our best to ensure that the country watches the football matches, I don’t think it’s possible to promise that ZESA will maintain power throughout.”
Zimbabwe open the tournament with a match against hosts Egypt shortly after the opening ceremony on Friday. The Warriors are in a group which also includes the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
Zimbabwe, now producing 969 MW of electricity daily against peak demand of 2,100 MW, is in the middle of its peak winter power demand season, which has increased power consumption.
Kariba Power Station has reduced generation to 358 MW despite having a generating capacity of 1,050 MW after another 300 MW was added in 2017.