Zimbabweans have enjoyed more power supplies during the past week, thanks partly to the new generator installed at the country’s major thermal power station by Chinese company Sinohydro.
The new generator, which is referred to as Unit 7 at Hwange Thermal Power Station, is still undergoing commissioning tests but has been able to supply a full load of 300 MW into the national grid in some instances, according to national power utility ZESA Holdings.
Sinohydro is also installing Hwange Unit 8, which will feed another 300 MW into the national grid and is due for synchronization on May 16, according to the Minister of Energy and Power Development Zhemu Soda.
Zimbabweans have been enduring curtailed power supplies for decades now because of aging equipment at its power stations, which has led to constant breakdowns.
The situation was made worse in late 2022 when ZESA’s subsidiary, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), was ordered to reduce power generation at the Kariba South Hydro Power Stations because the water level at Kariba Dam had become too low to generate power at full capacity. However, following the just-ended rainy season, the power utility has been engaging the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) to increase power generation at the dam and has been allowed to increase power generation for limited periods.
ZRA administers the water on the Zambezi River between Zimbabwe and Zambia, on which the Kariba Dam was built to supply power and other services to the two countries.
In a recent update on the power situation, ZESA expressed confidence that the electricity supply situation would be continuously improving.
“Barring unforeseen technical challenges, we expect the electricity supply situation to continuously improve as we ramp up generation at the Hwange Power Station. Likewise, a lot of technical processes are ongoing in preparation of the impending synchronization of the Hwange Unit 8 which will add 300 MW to the grid,” the power utility said.
Self-employed welder Chris Tongoona welcomed the increased power supplies, saying that he would now be able to cater to his family.
“It is difficult to go home with nothing to give to the family. Now I bring them a loaf of bread or two because I can now power my welding machine and take jobs from customers. It’s good that we now have electricity during the day. It was hard for us when supplies were only restored at night when we couldn’t work,” he said. Enditem