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ZPC shuts down three power stations, generation at Hwange drops to a third of capacity as coal shortages bite


31/05/2017 00:00:00
by Source.co.zw

BULAWAYO: Zimbabwe’s electricity generation dropped to 842 megawatts (MW) on Tuesday, just over half of peak demand, after output at Hwange Thermal Power Station dropped to under a third of capacity, which the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) blamed on poor coal supplies.

The power utility also shut down three smaller power stations for the same reason.

In an update on Tuesday, ZPC indicated that Hwange was producing 275MW against installed capacity of 920MW while Kariba Power Station was generating 567MW against an installed capacity of 750MW.

Three other stations — Munyati, Bulawayo and Harare — were not producing anything.These stations have installed capacity of 100MW, 90MW and 75MW, respectively.

“We have not been receiving enough coal to ensure steady supply of electricity. Our suppliers are incapacitated due to lack of foreign currency payments,” ZESA Holdings spokesperson, Fullard Gwasira told The Source.  

In February this year, Zimbabwe’s leading coal producer, Makomo Resources  — which became a major supplier of coal to ZPC after government-controlled Hwange Colliery Company failed to meet demand due to operational challenges — said the power utility was failing to pay for coal supplied, crippling its operations. It said production had dropped to 60,000 tonnes a month from 200,000 tonnes after ZPC failed to service its $25 million debt.

ZPC uses between 3,000 and 4,000 tonnes of coal per day, and requires around 120,000 tonnes per month.

Zimbabwe consumes about 1,400MW daily, from about 2,200 a decade ago due to the use of prepaid meters. The mining sector, a large consumer of power, has also reduced demand due to lower production caused by weak commodity prices.

ZPC also imports 300MW from South Africa’s Eskom and 50MW from Mozambique’s Hydro Cabora Bassa.

Zesa has been struggling to service arrears  of $43 million to Eskom and Hydro Cahora Bassa. In total, it owes Eskom $80 million and HCB $40 million.


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