Zim looks to SA’s Eskom to help stave off load shedding

Zimbabwe will turn to electricity imports from South Africa and Mozambique to ensure that the country does not resort to load shedding following a significant reduction of power generation from its anchor power station Kariba Dam, said a senior government official.

Commenting on the latest development where the country is set to lose 33% of power generation capacity, Energy and Power Development Minister Jorum Gumbo said on Friday the southern African country will look at other means to make sure that “the nation doesn’t go dark”.

Gumbo said apart from the challenges at Kariba Dam, Zimbabwe was also facing challenges in generating power from its thermal power stations where “there are challenges of coal supply”.

He said coal supplies are caused by break down in machinery which “has become very very old”.

“That has now forced us as a ministry to make sure that we look at other means to make sure that the nation doesn’t go dark,” said Gumbo.

“We have licenced over 34 companies … to provide solar [energy] into the country. And whilst we are doing that … we might be forced [into] load shedding,” he said.

Gumbo said as part of efforts to mitigate electricity challenges being faced in the country, the government will make arrangements to increase power imports from Mozambique and South Africa.

“As mitigatory factors we are looking at importing from Cabora Bassa and also from Eskom as we have always done,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC says it is yet to finalise the load shedding schedule but is directing efforts to improve the generation capacity to ensure that supply disruptions are kept at a minimum.

ZETDC advised customers to switch off all non-essential load in the interest of maintaining a balance between the supply of power available and demand, in order to ensure stability of the grid during morning and evening peak periods.

“Lager power users are also requested to reduce their power demand during the morning and evening peak periods of 5am to 10am and 5pm to 10pm respectively.

“In the event that this supply and demand equilibrium is not maintained, the power utility would have no choice but to curtail some loads to restore grid stability,” said ZETDC.