Do Zimbabweans Trust ZESA’s Promise that Load Shedding Disappearing in 21 Days?
10 November 2023
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Zimbabweans Skeptical of ZESA’s Promise to Alleviate Load Shedding in 3 Weeks.

By Farai D Hove | The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) recently pledged that the ongoing load shedding predicament, haunting the nation for over five years, could see relief within three weeks. This promise, highlighted during a visit to the Hwange Power Station by Energy and Power Development Minister Cde Edgar Moyo, aims to address the energy crisis and bolster key economic sectors.

The assurance hinges on the imminent return of the 300MW Hwange Thermal Power Station Unit 7 and ongoing negotiations to amplify electricity imports and expedite the refurbishment of aging thermal plant units. Minister Moyo attributes the power cuts to diminished domestic generation, primarily due to low water levels at Lake Kariba, severely hindering hydro-power production, and the temporary shutdown of Hwange Thermal Power Station Unit 7 for maintenance.

To ensure sustained power stability, the government is advocating for the modernization of Hwange’s aging units (1 to 6) and the implementation of innovative solutions, including floating solar technology at Lake Kariba and the activation of various independent renewable power producers.

Zimbabwe’s electricity generation recently plummeted to around 1,300MW against a demand of 1,800MW due to scheduled maintenance and reduced capacity at the Kariba Hydro-power Station. This scarcity has forced heavy reliance on Hwange Power Station and imports from regional producers.

Minister Moyo’s statement resonates hope with the expectation of Unit 7’s return, albeit cautioning intermittent breakdowns until the end of the month. ZESA executive chairman, Dr Sydney Gata, emphasized the critical water shortage at Kariba, underlining the pivotal factor contributing to the energy crisis. Dr Gata underscored the pursuit of alternative technologies, primarily PV solar, as a potential remedy to the chronic power deficit.

The announcement is met with understandable skepticism from a populace fatigued by prolonged power outages. The recurrent nature of unfulfilled promises to alleviate load shedding casts doubt on the credibility of this latest timeline. The prospect of the energy crisis being resolved within three weeks is viewed with cautious optimism, while the population remains vigilant for tangible results. The government and ZESA face the challenging task of reinstating public trust by delivering on this promise amid the longstanding power supply challenges.- state media/agencies