Brace for dark Christmas says Energy minister as electricity crisis deepens 

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By Thandiwe Garusa

ENERGY minister Soda Zhemu has said the nation is embroiled in a funding crisis which has made it impossible to swiftly ease the ongoing power blackouts.

Speaking to the media on the current power crisis on Friday, Zhemu said the current average daily demand is around 1600 megawatts against a total available capacity, which is between 1250 and 1350 from both internal sources and imports.

“The government is making an intervention. This is a crisis situation and we hope through that intervention, funding will be available to apply for the additional capacity which we are looking forward to having access to from our neighbours in the region,” Zhemu said.

The power situation recently deteriorated dramatically.

Last week the Zambezi River Authority ordered ZESA to shut down Kariba South Hydro-Power Station until January as it had exceeded its water ration for the year.

However, the minister said the station will only be shut down completely during Christmas days and on other days it will be generating about 300 megawatts daily pending a review of the water situation next year.

Meanwhile, the country’s Hwange Thermal Power Station has become notoriously unreliable as it is now old.

Hwange is the country’s largest coal-fired power station, with 920MW installed capacity.

The plant now produces less than half its capacity.