Zimbabwe’s power utility warns of 16-hour cuts as winter demand surges

Zimbabwe’s power utility warns of 16-hour cuts as winter demand surges

BULAWAYO, May 28 (The Source) – Zimbabwe will experience power outages for up to 16 hours a day during the winter season after demand for electricity rose to 1, 800 megawatts (MW) against current output of 1,300MW, the power utility said on Thursday.

Zimbabwe’s seasonal peak power demand occurs during the winter months of June and July and the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) said it expects maximum demand to average 1,800MW.

In a winter load shedding programme for 2015, ZESA subsidiary, ZETDC said supplies would be interrupted for more than 16 hours a day.

“To this end, ZESA is putting in place measures to boost power generation and reduce consumption in order to minimize load shedding,” said ZETDC in a statement.

It urged consumers to use power sparingly.

“All non-essential loads and appliances should be switched off at all times. Non-essential lights and office equipment should be switched off over night,” said ZETDC.

As of Thursday, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) was producing 1, 301MW, with the hydroelectric Kariba Power Station generating 662MW against an installed capacity of 750MW while Hwange thermal station was producing 546MW against installed capacity of 920MW.

The utility’s small thermal power stations – Bulawayo, Harare and Munyati — are currently producing 35MW, 30MW and 28MW, respectively, against installed capacity of 75MW, 90MW and 100MW.

Zimbabwe also imports power from Hydro Caborra Bassa of Mozambique but supply remains too low to meet demand.