Under fire Minister of Energy and Power Development Edgar Moyo has said heavy load shedding is expected to ease by the end of November while power cuts will persist till 2025.
Moyo, who was being pressed by opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) chief whip and legislator Amos Chibaya, during a Question and Answer session in Parliament on Wednesday said the country has been experiencing a series of depressed power generation at Kariba owing to low water levels.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, recently commissioned Hwange Unit 7 and 8 which were expected to alleviate power outages but the stations have so far been inconsistent.
“Yes indeed, we are going through depressed generation in all our power stations in the country at the moment,” said Moyo.
“The reasons being: firstly, hydrological issues at Kariba Dam where our water levels have since gone so low that we now have depressed generation at Kariba.
“Our normal storing capacity in Kariba is 1050 megawatts but we are currently running between 250 and 300 megawatts and that is already a depressed capacity of generation.”
Harare East legislator Rusty Markam disputed Moyo’s response saying the country generated way more electricity in Kariba around the same period last year.
“Last year I followed the Zimbabwe River Authority website which is very accurate. Last year this time we had less water in Kariba yet Kariba was generating twice the amount of power that they are today. Can the Minister give us an explanation for that?,” queried Markam
In response, Moyo said: “Last year we overused our allocation of water in Kariba. What happens is that the Zambezi River Authority has the responsibility of allocating water to both Zimbabwe and Zambia on a 50/50 basis.
“So, the expected water inflows in Kariba last year were about 30 billion litres. So, during the process of generation and when we had some issues in terms of our generation centers in Hwange, there was an increased generation to reduce the power supply deficit in the country and therefore, there was a level of over-use.”
Moyo revealed that the recently commissioned Hwange Unit 7 tripped weeks before periodical maintenance.
“Hwange, which is our other major generation point, we recently commissioned Units 7 and 8 and those units have given us a combined output of 600 megawatts but two weeks back, Unit 7 tripped and that was two weeks before it was due for Class C maintenance.
“So, in an effort to reduce the time-out, we had to combine the inspection and repair works of the actual displacement Unit together with the Class C maintenance which is going to run up to the end of this month,” the minister added.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing incessant blackouts, which the minister also attributed to dilapidated and outdated power-generating machines.
The Minister of Energy said between Units 1 and 6 which are also at Hwange, the government is expecting to bring on board Unit 4 which was also out due to some faults and is scheduled to come on board on the 21st of November.
Queried by CCC’s Leslie Mhangwa who is also the chairperson of the Committee on Energy, about the ministry’s plan to address power cuts in a medium to long-term period, Moyo said the Cabinet had accepted and approved measures that will run till 2025.
“We have developed a road map which has been adopted by the Cabinet on how we are going to solve the energy issue through to 2025,” he said.