Zimbabwe Should Brace For More Power Outages

This is coming at a time when Hwange Power Station is facing a generation problem.

“The Kariba plant will be undergoing a maintenance programme and as a result we will have a reduced output from Kariba power station and all this is in preparation of the World Cup,” ZESA spokesman Fullard Gwasira told Radio VOP.

“The maintenance programme will be done starting on April 16 and ending of May 21”.

Gwasira said the maintenance is done in preparation for the June, Soccer World Cup in South Africa .

ZESA is understood to be in need of  US$383 million to import power and improve electricity generation amid reports that the utility is owed US$347 million in unpaid bills. The debt has ballooned from US$230 million reported last year.

In 2008 ZESA entered into a US$15 million deal with ZIMASCO a local mining firm to refurbish Hwange Power Station unit number five and six.

At the same time when Zimbabwean households and industry are experiencing persistent power cuts of up to 20 hours daily, Zimbabwe is exporting power to Namibia at a discounted tariff to meet requirements of a US$50 million deal which has worsened the power crisis.

Under the deal signed in March 2007, Namibia , which provided Zimbabwe with loan of US$50 million, is supposed to receive 180 megawatts for a minimum of five years as part of a power purchasing agreement between Zesa and Namibia ’s power utility, Nampower.

The US$50 million was meant to refurbish and expand Hwange Power Station to levels that would have resulted in a “significant” reduction in power-cuts throughout energy-crisis-hit Zimbabwe.