Brace For More Hours Of Load Shedding: ZESA Warns As Hwange Unit 7 Goes Offline
Hwange Unit 7 Out of Commission
Zimbabwe’s struggling power utility, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), has issued a warning to its consumers to expect more hours of load shedding due to a reduction in power generation. This comes after the removal of Hwange Unit 7 from the national grid, resulting in a temporary reduction of 300MW in the power supply. The unit had been feeding an additional 300 Megawatts (MW) after being synchronized onto the national grid in March this year.
ZESA’s subsidiary, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), has advised stakeholders that Hwange Unit 7 is undergoing commissioning tests, with its installed capacity being maintained by the end of June. This process is expected to affect the power stability of the country, which had been experiencing relative stability since the synchronization of the unit.
ZETDC has assured its customers that the unit is expected back online within a few days and any inconvenience caused is regretted. This reduction in power generation comes at a time when Zimbabweans have already been facing long hours of load shedding due to breakdowns in machinery at power generating plants, restricted generation, and the utility’s failure to pay for imports.
Efforts to Improve Power Supply
Energy and Power Development Minister, Soda Zhemu, has announced that Hwange Unit 8 will be synchronized onto the national grid on May 16, contributing an additional 300MW of power. This development will see a combined power production of 600MW by the two new units. In addition, the Kariba Power Station has improved its generation to an average of 500MW, and Harare is at 11MW.
The Zimbabwean government has also negotiated with the Zambezi River Authority to be allowed to produce power after the Kariba Power Station was almost shut down last year due to low dam levels. However, the country’s peak electricity demand is 1,700MW, which means that more needs to be done to ensure a stable power supply.
In conclusion, Zimbabweans should brace themselves for more hours of load shedding due to a reduction in power generation following the removal of Hwange Unit 7 from the national grid. However, efforts are being made to improve the power supply, including the synchronization of Hwange Unit 8 and the improved generation at Kariba Power Station.