Zimbabwe turns to imports to address power crisis 

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By Darlington Gatsi

ZIMBABWE has turned to neighbouring countries for electricity imports to untangle itself from the energy crisis that has seen the country rolling out 12 hour long load-shedding.

The country was plunged into darkness following a recent announcement by Zambezi River Authority that water levels at Kariba dam had drastically reduced as  the country had exhausted its water allocation.

It depends on the Kariba Dam as its main source of energy generation, augmenting the coal generating station in Hwange.

Energy Soda Zhemu told the press Zimbabwe is only left with the option to import electricity from Mozambique, adding negotiations were ongoing.

“ZESA is currently negotiating for additional imports from the current suppliers. More power will also be sourced through the SAPP market. ZPC will ramp up production at the power station to average 400MW. ZPC will ramp up production at small thermals to produce a combined total of 45MW,”said Soda Zhemu.

ZESA depends on power imports to complement the existing generation from Kariba, Hwange Power Station and independent power producers.

However, a combination of low Kariba Dam levels and debt from neighbouring power suppliers has thrown the country into darkness.

The  prolonged power cuts will have a negative effect on industry and  consumers as the country enters into the festive season.

Zimbabwe currently requires more than  2.200MW  of electricity.

Zhemu said Kariba Dam  will not be condemned but rather will produce electricity at lower capacity.

“ZPC has indeed exhausted its water allocation for the year. However, Kariba Power Station will not shut down completely, rather it will continue to generate but at a reduced capacity of up to 300MW daily average pending a review of the water situation at the dam in January 2023.

“This means that the power station has the latitude to vary its capacity long maintaining the required average capacity,” he said.