Zimbabwe Power Cuts to Persist For 10 Years

The country’s power utility will extend blackouts until it can boost capacity, Patson Mbiriri, secretary for energy and power development, told an annual congress of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.

“By 2022 that’s when we will be able to generate enough power for domestic and industrial power,” Mbiriri said.

Zimbabwe needs about 2 200MW of electricity at peak consumption but generates just below 1 300MW, while relying on imports to fill the gap.

Due to ageing equipment, power generation is often disrupted following breakdowns. In most cases, the generators operate below capacity.

In recent months, Zimbabwe could only afford to import 25MW from nearby countries after major electricity suppliers in the region turned off the switches over non-payment of dues.

“Most of our woes in terms of blackouts will end in 2015,” Mbiriri said.

Energy Minister Elton Mangoma recently said Zimbabwe has whittled its debt to power providers to under $20m from around $100m in a bid to resume imports.

There are plans to revamp the northern Kariba hydro-power station and the Hwange thermal power station in the west of the country. – AFP