Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy Partson Mbiriri told a mining workshop that Zimbabwe was currently importing 300 MW from South Africa and 100 MW from Mozambique to beef up reduced local energy supply.
The power imports, he said, were however coming at a high cost which had necessitated the power utility to propose a 49 percent increase in electricity tariffs.
If approved, electricity tariffs will rise from the current 9 cents per kwh to 14. 6 cents per kwh.
The utility is currently getting stakeholder views on the proposed tariff increase which has already been shot down by industrialists, miners and farmers.
Power generation at the country’s second largest power plant, Kariba Hydro Power Station, has declined by more than half to 285 MW from 750 MW due to low water levels in Kariba Dam.
“To substitute for the loss at Kariba we have turned to neighboring utilities in particular Mozambique for additional imports,” Mbiriri said.
The largest power plant Hwange Thermal was producing on average 600 MW, Mbiriri said, adding before challenges at Kariba the country was producing on average 1,300 MW against peak demand of 2,100 MW.
He said apart from the imports, the country was pursuing various options to address the power gap including establishing a 200 MW diesel power plant.
“The power that we are importing is prepaid. If we fail to pre-pay we will simply be switched off and the seven cents per kwh electricity tariff that we are charging ferro chrome miners may no longer hold in view of the high cost of power imports and we must therefore re- engage,” he said.
He also said Zimbabwe was targeting to be self sufficient in energy requirements by 2018 and to be exporting power by 2020 if current and planned energy projects are completed. Enditem