Zimbabwe's Power Crisis Deepens As Generation Falls To 260MW
Zimbabwe’s power crisis has deepened as the total generation by the country’s power utility, ZESA Holdings, has continued to fall since the end of February.
According to the Zimbabwe Power Company, ZESA Holdings’ subsidiary responsible for power generation, on 03 March 2023, the total output from its five power stations was 260MW.
This is against a national demand of 1 700MW in the summer and 2 200MW in the winter.
Kariba was generating 173MW, Hwange 87MW, while Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati were producing zero.
ZPC recently revealed that several units at Hwange Thermal Power Station, whose installed capacity is 920MW, had broken down and only one unit (Unit 2) was working. According to ZPC:
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- Unit 4 was switched off on 15 February after developing a boiler tube leak
- Unit 1 was taken off on February 24 after a high-pressure fan got damaged
- Unit 3 was stopped on February 24 after developing a tube leak
- Unit 6 was switched off on February 23 after developing a tube leak
- Unit 5 tripped in October 2021 due to excessive turbine vibrations
The electricity crisis is compounded by the fact that the Kariba South Bank Hydro Power Station is also generating well below its installed capacity of 1 050MW due to a shortage of water and breakdowns.
On the state of the Kariba power station, ZPC said:
- Unit 4 was taken out on July 20 2022 due to a damaged turbine runner
- Generator 1 was switched off on February 2 2023 for turbine runner inspection. Inspections were completed but it’s been placed on annual maintenance
- Unit 8 tripped on 20 December 2022 due to GTx 8 fault and is being replaced
- Unit 6 was taken out on December 16 2022 for an annual overhaul and machine cooling water pipework replacement
Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda recently told Members of Parliament that two new units, Unit 7 and Unit 8 will be going online in March and April, respectively. The units are expected to generate 300MW each.
Zhemu said Zimbabwe is currently importing a combined 500MW from Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa.
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