ZIMBABWE has increased its power generation with the national grid currently producing at least 1 430MW, much to the applause of the general citizenry.
The country is generating at least 1 382MW and deriving 48MW from Independent Power Producers (IPP), bringing the cumulative total to 1 430MW.
According to the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), Hwange Thermal Power Station is producing 824MW with Units 7 and 8 said to be operating at optimum levels, Kariba 558MW as it copes with tight water rationing following subdued inflows, and 48MW from IPPs.
“Hwange is producing 824MW, Kariba 558MW, nothing from small thermals and 48MW from IPPs bringing the total to 1 430MW,” said ZPC.
Energy and Power Development Permanent Secretary Dr Gloria Magombo told The Herald yesterday that the Government was committed to ensuring that the power supply is improved and once it reaches optimum levels, it is sustained.
“The most important thing that you have to appreciate as indicated previously is that the Government will continue to engage various partners either in the private sector or our entities to ensure that power supply improves and is sustained and one of the major strategies which we have taken which was through the regulatory issues was to ensure that the utility can recover the full cost of supply.
“It is important for them to be empowered such that they are then able to meet the cost of the supply of energy and also that of maintenance and repairs of their equipment.
“The equipment is old. It’s a process not an event so they will continue to make the steps to ensure that all the different equipment which is old is taken out slowly and taken for a full overhaul,” she said.
Dr Magombo said the Second Republic had also roped in the private sector and this move had been paying dividends as evidenced by the increased power output. Private sector participation in the country’s energy sector was thus appreciated.
“We have adopted a strategy that the private sector should be part of it and, as Government, we have seen a high increase in private sector installations of commercial and industrial systems to assist ZESA to meet its part.
“We have seen a huge increase in solar rooftops which are also being connected to the grid, especially during the day and for us, we want to appreciate the private sector’s initiatives to also complement the efforts of the utility to ensure everyone does their part,” she said.
Analysts, the business community and domestic users all expressed their satisfaction with the increased power supply.
Harare-based political analyst Dr Hamadziripi Dube said the increase in power supply was a masterstroke as it was surely an indication that Zimbabwe was moving closer towards power self-sufficiency.
“Increased power generation from Hwange to the national grid is a major step and prerequisite to grow the Zimbabwe industry. It shows that Zimbabwe as a country is moving towards self-sufficient power status and can sustain daily power demand.
“Vision 2030 is achievable with these encouraging completion of national projects and in line with NDS1. Zero load shedding is about to be achieved under the leadership of President Mnangagwa,” he said.
Dr Dube said uninterrupted power supplies would only drive economic growth for Zimbabwe, and the realisation of national goals such as Vision 2030.
“Reduction of domestic power output was a major blow to our industry and residential demand, however, this shortage is almost manageable with the notable increase of power out from Hwange power plant.”
“Power increase improves the way people do business and this leads to a recognisable and notable economic growth. In addition to that, it has reduced load shedding giving people the required comfort in their homes with families,” he said.
Political analyst and Catholic University of Zimbabwe lecturer Dr Tonga Danha echoed Dr Dube’s sentiments saying the decrease in power outages would also increase investor confidence.
“The increased power generation from Hwange and the subsequent decrease in power outages are positive developments for the country.
“Firstly, increased power generation can help alleviate the chronic power shortages that Zimbabwe has experienced in the past. Insufficient power supply has been a major obstacle to economic growth and development in the country.
“Reduced power outages will see businesses operating more reliably, industries can expand, and individuals can have access to more consistent electricity for their daily needs. This stability in power supply can have ripple effects throughout the economy, leading to increased productivity and improved living standards.
“Moreover, increased power generation can attract investment and stimulate economic activity. Reliable electricity supply is crucial for attracting both domestic and foreign investments, as it provides a vital infrastructure for industries to operate effectively,” he said.
A steel engineer from the Graniteside area in Harare, Mr Ishmael Muga, applauded the Second Republic for ensuring increased power supply.
This, he said, had seen him run his operations uninterrupted something he was very happy about.
“We are in steel making here in Graniteside, Harare. These days power supply is good, we rarely have power cuts or load shedding. We are just hoping we will continue to have uninterrupted power supplies and not experience power outages that will disturb our operations,” he said.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Mr Denford Mutashu said the availability of electricity had put smiles on the business community’s faces.
“Improvement in electricity generation capacity has put smiles on the private sector and the general public. Power is a huge enabler along value chains. The retail and wholesale sector wish to commend the Government for such inroads in power generation,” said Mr Mutashu.
A Hatfield resident only identified as Luckson, said he was elated that there was little to no load-shedding being experienced in recent weeks.
“I do not want to lie to you, the electricity situation has been very pleasing. Now I am guaranteed consistent power supplies and this is something to be very much happy about. I just hope that the situation stays the same because these outages were not good, they were very frustrating if anything,” he said.
Earlier, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority chief executive, Mr Eddington Mazambani, conceded that there were increased investments in renewable energy by IPPs and this would ease demand from the national grid.
“We are going to see a lot of organisations becoming self-sufficient in terms of power supply,” said Mr Mazambani.