Zimbabwe importing 600MW to cover power supply gap

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Zimbabwe is currently importing up to 600MW of electricity from regional producers in order to cover supply deficit, caused by subdued energy generation capacity mainly by ageing thermal power stations.

The country is currently producing an average of about 900MW electricity daily against a demand of between 1400MW and 1500MW. Kariba Dam Power Station currently dominates domestic output while Hwange, the largest thermal station with 920MW installed capacity and three smaller thermals in Bulawayo, Harare and Munyati are producing below capacity.

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Boosting internal generation

As of last week, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) indicated that Kariba was producing 637MW, Hwange 184MW, Bulawayo zero, Munyati 14MW and Harare 15MW. Combined output from all the five power stations was 850MW.

According to Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) chief executive officer, Engineer Eddington Mazambani, power imports are made possible through concerted efforts towards clearing arrears with regional suppliers mainly Eskom of South Africa and HCB and EDM of Mozambique. “Imports account for between 33-40% of our power requirements. Our internal generation is about 900MW against a demand of between 1400MW and 1500MW with 500-600MW covered by imports,” he said.

The CEO further added that the recent tariff increase by Zesa was justified as the utility was working on recovering operating costs. He said the previous tariff had been eroded by exchange rate deterioration and inflation from the award of October 2019, which allowed the company to recover operating costs.