RioZim decries choking power cuts, says 30% production time lost

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By Alois Vinga

DIVERSIFIED resources group, RioZim has decried the current electricity power cuts saying the situation has placed the group’s production under a heavy strain amid moves to seriously engage the power utility.

The outcry comes at a time when the country is enduring prolonged periods of power outages, sometimes surpassing eight hours a day.

As a result, most companies have begun to feel the load shedding toll on their operations.

In an update this week, RioZim’s Per Chiurayi said blackouts have resulted in firm incurring huge premium on group’s operations.

“Power supply challenges worsened during the quarter due to acute load shedding as the country battled with erratic local power generation coupled with inadequate supplementary power imports.

“Production was, therefore, significantly hampered during the quarter due to power supply challenges. Power outages are taking up to 30% of the available production time hence adversely affecting production in a very material way,” said Chiurayi.

The company said even though it has put in place generators to lessen production stoppages, it still remains reliant on the power utility for
consistent electricity supply to run optimally.

Official reports have, however, revealed that one of the two power generators being built at Hwange Thermal Power Station was successfully turned on for the first time, bringing the country closer to producing an additional 300 megawatts.

The additional power is expected to be fed into the national grid before the end of the year, therefore going a long way in easing power shortages in the country.

The 300 MW unit is part of two generators making up the Hwange Thermal Power Station Unit 7 and 8 Expansion Project being undertaken by Chinese firm Sinohydro under facility from China Eximbank.

When complete, the two units are expected to produce a combined 600 MW. The second unit is due for commissioning early 2023.

However, some sections of the industry are already considering pushing authorities to fast track the connection to the Hwange generator.

“Power supply challenges remain a key risk to the Group’s operations as the current ongoing power cuts are set to worsen as a result of the approaching rainy season from Q4 2022.

“Engagements with the power utility are ongoing on the rehabilitation of the unreliable power infrastructure mainly at Renco mine,” added Chiurayi.