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Load shedding relief as power supplies improve

by Staff reporter
10 Aug 2019 at 08:52hrs | Views
LOAD shedding has eased after Zimbabwe started receiving 400 megawatts of electricity from South African power utility Eskom on Thursday night, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Advocate Fortune Chasi, said yesterday.  

Zesa introduced load shedding in May after power generation plunged in the country due to low water levels at Kariba dam, generation constraints at Hwange Power Station and limited imports.

The load shedding programme saw households across the country going for up to 18 hours without power.  Zesa owes Eskom US$23 million has committed to make weekly payments of US$890 000 towards servicing the debt.

Last month, a lump sum payment of US$10 million of the long standing legacy debt was made to Eskom opening up 400 megawatts daily from the neighbouring country.  

The country started receiving power from Eskom on Thursday night necessitating the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company to revert to Stage 1 load shedding.

Zimbabwe needs about 1 600MW during winter and current imports and power generated locally are giving the country more than 1000MW.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Minister Chasi said power imports from South Africa's from Eskom are bound to significantly improve the power supply situation across the country. He said demand for electricity is also expected to drop as the winter season is coming to an end, meaning less demand for heating purposes.

"The 400MW is a lot of electricity and it will make a significant relief to load shedding.

Switch off switches and lights when not in use. It is the small efforts and the right attitude that can make a meaningful difference. Those that can afford to switch to solar power, please do so as the country is pushing towards promoting renewable energy," said Minister Chasi.

"This is very expensive power that we are importing from South Africa. Let us continue to work hard and pay bills and not sit on our laurels with the belief that all is well now that power is available. It is very expensive power and a very huge debt must be paid to Eskom.

Zesa is illiquid and to help the situation, let us all service our accounts and pay our bills because it is the responsibility of every consumer to ensure that services are provided."  

He could, however, not be drawn into disclosing the new load shedding schedule saying the power utility was yet to assess consumption patterns as the country was switching over to warmer temperatures.  

Minister Chasi said load shedding was implemented because of increased power shortfalls which resulted in demand outstripping supply, risking a collapse of the national grid.  

Zesa spokesperson, Mr Fullard Gwasira, confirmed the latest developments regarding power imports from South Africa. "The electricity supply situation has improved significantly following interventions by both Government and the line Ministry to access power from the Region. I can confirm that we started receiving power last night (Thursday) from Eskom after payment modalities were worked out by both utilities," he said.

"This power supply situation puts predictability to load shedding and largely puts all customers in Stage 1 load shedding. It also allows the utility to prioritise the productive sectors to ensure the economy functions. I also want to add that this power is coming at a great cost and urge all customers to pay their bills to ensure that the prevailing electricity supply situation is maintained and sustained."

Zesa has previously said those in Stage 1 are the first group of customers who will be switched off as the power shortfall will be within planned limits and in the event that the power shortfall increases beyond the planned limits, load shedding will move to Stage 2 to add more load shedding hours.

Many consumers in Bulawayo took to social media yesterday afternoon celebrating having power all day, with some hailing the efforts of the power company. 

Source - chronicle