The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has reverted to Stage 1 load shedding after fixing a fault at the Hwange Thermal Power Station which had forced it to extend load shedding hours.
The company announced overnight on Sunday that the fault had been repaired and consumers would no longer suffer periods of load shedding under State 2 which it had announced on Saturday morning.
Consumers experience around eight hours of load shedding under the Stage 1 schedule, with Stage 2 coming in when power supplies deteriorate further.
The company introduced load shedding mid-May following depressed generation at the Kariba Hydro Power Station where authorities have begun rationing water allocations due to low water levels in the lake caused by the severe drought of 2018/19.
Zimbabwe had enjoyed more than four years without load shedding, but the drought has pushed the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) to reduce water allocation to ZETDC’s sister company – the Zimbabwe Power Company – from 19 billion cubic meters to 16 billion cubic meters for 2019, thus reducing power generation to 358MW for Zimbabwe and 392MW for Zambia and resulting in the two countries rationing the available power.
The rationing is meant to ensure that the plant continues to run until the next rainy season.
Zimbabwe is currently generating less than 820MW from three power stations against a daily peak demand of 1,600MW in winter and 1,400MW in summer.
Power generation at Hwange and the smaller thermal power stations of Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati remains fragile because of aged equipment.
Chinese company Sinohydro is currently refurbishing Hwange at a cost of 1.5 billion U.S. dollars to add two generators each producing 300MW.
The power station currently has an installed capacity of 920MW but cannot generate at optimum level because of the aged equipment.
ZRA said recently that Mozambique’s Hydro Electrica de Cahorra Bassa had offered Zimbabwe and Zambia power imports in exchange for further reduced power generation by the two countries at their Kariba Dam plants.
Cahorra Bassa Dam is overflowing following recent two cyclone-induced floods, and authorities in Mozambique favor having Zimbabwe and Zambia storing more water in Kariba Dam, which is upstream of Cahorra Bassa on the Zambezi River, to reduce inflows into the downstream dam and thus protect the infrastructure at Cahorra Bassa. Enditem