ENERGY-STARVED Zimbabwe will suffer longer and more frequent power shortages for the next 10 years, a senior official said Friday.
The country's power utility will extend blackouts until it can boost capacity, Patson Mbiriri, secretary for energy and power development, told an annual congress of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.
"By 2022 that's when we will be able to generate enough power for domestic and industrial power," Mbiriri said.
Zimbabwe needs about 2,200 megawatts of electricity at peak consumption but generates just below 1,300 megawatts, while relying on imports to fill the gap.
Due to ageing equipment, power generation is often disrupted following breakdowns. In most cases, the generators operate below capacity.
In recent months, Zimbabwe could only afford to import 25 megawatts from nearby countries after major electricity suppliers in the region turned off the switches over non-payment of dues.
"Most of our woes in terms of blackouts will end in 2015," Mbiriri said.
Legislators recently rounded on the coalition Cabinet for failing to resolve the country’s persistent power supply problems.
“We have failed to come up with indicators just to say there will be something in two years and in two years this country will have enough energy. Yet Cabinet meets every week, Ministers are in their offices every day and one wonders what is really happening,” said Goromonzi North MP Paddy Zhanda (Zanu PF).
“How do we turn around the economy with energy shortages? Mining, agriculture . . . all need energy. We are dealing with an economy that hinges its turnaround on agriculture and mining all need energy yet this was not addressed.”
Energy Minister Elton Mangoma recently said Zimbabwe has whittled its debt to power providers to under $20 million from around $100 million in a bid to resume imports.
There are plans to revamp the northern Kariba hydro-power station and the Hwange thermal power station in the west of the country.