Power shortage looms as Kariba water level drops

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

THE Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), has reduced water allocations to the Zimbabwe Power company (ZPC), from 19 billion cubic metres to 16 billion cubic metres for 2019.

According to ZPC, the move is to enable the plant to be operational until next rainy season.

The statement added that the situation has been made worse by vandalism and theft of the utility’s key infrastructure, obsolete equipment and foreign currency shortages.

“To this end electricity generation at Kariba Power Station will thus be reduced to an average of 358 MW from the planned 542 MW as a direct result of this water allocation reduction and this has led to power supply gap,” ZPS said in a statement Wednesday.

“The water supply situation and thus generation at Kariba will be reviewed as the year progresses. Generation at Hwange Power Station and the Small Thermal power stations of Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati remain fragile due to old age.

“Every effort is being directed to improve the generation capacity to ensure that supply disruptions are kept at a minimum.”

ZPC urged cunsumers to switch off all non-essential load in the interest of maintaining a balance between the supply of power available and demand in order to ensure stability of the grid during the morning and evening peak periods.

“Large power users are requested to reduce their power demand during the morning and evening peak periods of 5am to 10am and 5pm to 10pm.

“In the event that this supply and demand equilibrium is not maintained, the power utility would have no choice but to curtail some loads to restore grid stability,” said ZPC.

According to ZPC, last year alone, over 1 600 transformers were vandalised across the country.

The State power generator is also experiencing problems with accessing foreign currency, a situation that has left most sectors of the economy reeling.

A poor rain season has resulted in low water levels at Kariba Dam, leaving management with no option but to reduce allocations to Zimbabwe and its northern neighbour, Zambia.