‘Intensified load shedding not linked to elections’- Zesa

By Chipo Musoko, HARARE, August 15, 2013 (The Source) – Zimbabwe’s rolling power cuts, which have intensified in recent days, are due to a growing electricity supply deficit caused by reduced imports and the loss of some production capacity at its Hwange thermal plant, state power utility Zesa said on Thursday.

In a statement, Zesa  spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said he sought to correct media reports suggesting that the current load shedding was “deliberately being undertaken to sabotage the economy.”

“This perception is sadly not correct,” Gwasira said.

Zesa is currently generating just over 1,300 megawatts against demand of 2,000MW. Zesa statistics also show that the country is also not importing any power, a factor Gwasira attributed to plant maintenance at major supplier Hydro Cabora Bassa in Mozambique.

Gwasira said Zesa had made arrangements to boost power imports from regional suppliers for the election period.

“This support, however, cannot be sustained in the long-term due to power shortages in their own countries,” Gwasira said, adding that the support had enabled the power utility to “effect very minimal load shedding during the election period.”

Gwasira also attributed the load shedding to loss of four units at Hwange over the past two weeks which reduced output from 700MW to 200MW.

He said the four units had since been restored generating a total of 530 MW at Hwange, but still below the average output of 700MW.

“These facts clearly show that there is therefore no causal link between the power supply situation and the harmonized elections,” he said.