POWER CRISIS: ED frets over load shedding as he fears job losses

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By Darlington Gatsi

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called for rationing of energy to industries as a stopgap measure to avert possible job losses.

Zimbabwe was last month plunged into darkness following an announcement by Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) suspending operations at its Kariba South Hydro-Power Station.

The suspension came as a result of low water levels in Kariba Dam.

Kariba Hydro Power Station at produces 1 600 megawatts of electricity at maximum capacity but had fallen to 300 megawatts.

Mnangagwa was speaking before his final cabinet meeting at State House Tuesday.

“In the countdown to the 2023 harmonised elections it is imperative to ensure that our industry is provided with adequate power and jobs are saved so that our electorate are not swayed by the country’s detractors who rely on challenges and suffering of ordinary people to gain support,” said Mnangagwa.

Residents have been enduring more than 19 hours of power black outs, with the government desperate to find a solution to the crisis.

A dark festive season is beckoning for many as government struggles to come up with a lasting solution.

Indications are that the power cuts might spill to next year if communication from ZESA’s Zambian counterpart, ZESCO on the Kariba situation are anything to go by.

Experts have blamed the government’s murky Independent Power Producers (IPPs) such as Wicknel Chivayo’s failed Gwanda solar project for the crisis.

Government is pinning hopes on refurbishment of Hwange Power Station’s units.

However neighbouring countries which Zimbabwe depends on for imports like South Africa’s are enduring similar energy problems.

South Africa and Zambia are also rolling out power cuts leaving Mozambique’s Cahora Bassa to rescue the country.

Mnangagwa encouraged Zimbabweans to look for alternative power channels to lessen the burden on its national grid.

“As we seek to augment our electricity through imports, let us encourage citizens to use power sparingly or utilise other sources apart from the national grid,” he said.