Zimbabwe power crisis deepens

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ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe will early next year reduce the amount of electricity it generates by almost half, as water levels at the country’s only hydroelectricity generation plant continue to drop.

With some areas already experiencing up to 18 hours of load shedding, the southern African country plans to reduce power generation from the current 475 megawatts to 280MW by December.

The immediate solution to avert a near disaster if we have low rainfall in the next season is to install what are called emergency power plants

Electricity output from Kariba dropped from 750MW in August to the current 475MW, as power cuts are expected to worsen.

Zimbabwe’s Energy minister, Samuel Undenge says to mitigate the shortages, the government planned to increase the prices of electricity and introduce an emergency diesel generator plant.

Undenge said the tariff adjustments are inevitable in 2016 “but we will make sure that these will be minimal”.

Consumers are being levied 9,86c/kWh and the use of diesel generators will see cost going up to 14c/kWh.

Previous attempts by Zesa to increase the tariffs were turned down by the regulator, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority.

“The immediate solution to avert a near disaster if we have low rainfall in the next season is to install what are called emergency power plants,” the minister told business leaders.

“These are modules of diesel generators, which can be installed in the shortest possible time.”

Undenge says government will start with plants with a capacity of 200MW.

ZESA Holdings has sent engineers to Italy and India for due diligence on the company which will supply equipment for the construction of the plant.

Zimbabwe’s electricity generation was at the weekend pegged at 1 077MW against a national requirement in excess of 2 200MW.

The current power crisis has seen the government ordering major mining companies and other large electricity consumers to reduce consumption by up to 25 per cent.

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