ZESA assures customers they won’t experience another aggressive load-shedding
ZESA Holdings, the local power utility, has said customers won’t experience another aggressive load-shedding as experienced in recent weeks saying there has been increased electricity supply in the country lately.
In a statement seen by the publication, the authority said it has increased the generation of power at Hwange Power Station. Reads the statement:
UPDATE ON THE ELECTRICITY SUPPLY SITUATION DECEMBER 2022
ZESA Holdings is pleased to advise its valued Stakeholders of the increased electricity supply in the country, which has resulted in reduced load curtailment across all our customer segments. This development follows weeks of depressed generation attributed to the dropping water levels at Lake Kariba which necessitated the directive to reduce power generation at Kariba South Power Station by the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA). Moreover, the incessant breakdown of the aged Hwange Power Station equipment saw the station operating with two units during the period. The current power generation challenges affecting the region affected electricity trading on the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) market further reducing import arrangements in the face of exponential demand for power in the country. In the past weeks, we have been extensively engaging with various Stakeholders so as to implement critical measures to alleviate the power deficit challenges. The power deficit is not unique to Zimbabwe but the entire SADC region and interventions proffered by ZESA Management inter alia:
• Our Engineers and Technicians have been working frantically to ensure increased power generation. Consequently, we have increased generation at the Hwange Power Station by getting the broken down Units back up, resulting in Five (5) of the Six (6) being currently operational which has increased supply to the national grid. This will help ease the demand supply gap during the festive break as we also anticipate reduced demand from the business sector during the period.
• Unit 8 is progressing well and is planned to be commissioned during the first quarter of next year.
• We are delighted by the recent announcement by Government to support a good number of Independent Power Producer (IPP) projects, mostly Solar which have been awaiting a Guarantee Structure. The Ministry of Energy and Power Development and ZESA will procure this capacity to the extent to not only balance supply and demand, but also to export surplus capacity, as well as to conserve water in Lake Kariba which will be used both as a balancing plant for Renewables as well as Energy Banking for IPPs via Conjunctive Dispatch. The general shortage of power in the region will inevitably translate to increased costs of Electricity. However, the combination of the Kariba Complex with Solar, mini-hydro and Wind Power whose costs are on a reduction trajectory will ensure competitive pricing to our consumers.
• Zimbabwe has a clear roadmap to transition its power generation to support a green economy to include the Batoka project which will be a joint venture between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Discussions between the countries are now being speeded up whilst development financiers are still being sought.
• The company is also advancing projects to utilize the available hydro capacity provided by the 10 gorges. Development of a massive hydro potential on the Kafue and Zambezi basins and operation of the power plants on a collaborative conjunctive basis is also being considered as one of the most viable strategy for the region. This project is anticipated to produce megawatts and enable us to export power.
• We have secured funding for the Hwange Power Station life extension and repowering of small thermal power stations.
Whilst we anticipate all these plans will help the supply side, customers are being encouraged to use the available power sparingly and engage in Demand Side Management (DSM) initiatives to ease pressure on the grid.
• We have successfully managed to secure the injection of additional imports from other SAPP members to support supply until the Kariba reservoir recovers in the first quarter of next year. We would like to express our profound gratitude for the support and commitment we got from the Government to mobilize the much needed foreign currency.
• The Utility intensely facilitated the establishment of an Intensive Energy User Group (IEUG) with the objective to guarantee supplies to maximum demand customers and ease pressure on the grid. These customers will import power directly, as well as support the development of IPPs in the country by signing PPAs directly with them. The first meeting was held on 29 March 2022 and there have been engagement meetings in Zambia and Mozambique. We are now pushing that we move faster on this initiative as it is in line with global developments where the private sector is involved more and more in developing and securing power supplies. As a sign of progression and commitment, during the current crisis some of the members of this group offered to resource the Utility with advance payments of their electricity usage bills to enable as to meet our power import obligations, and to date one such transaction has already been implemented.
As a lasting solution and going forward:
• The Hwange 7 & 8 which is set to bring an additional 600MW to the national grid was scheduled to be completed by January 2022, However, the effects of Covid -19 derailed the completion.Our valued stakeholders are advised that Hwange 7 & 8 commissioning preparations are well on course. To date, it is pleasing to see that the technical tests are progressing well and the Utility expects the first additional 300 Megawatts from Unit 7 soon. Every indication is that it has been built well. We are treading cautiously on the technical aspects so that we energize robust machinery hence the need to follow all comprehensive commissioning tests. It is against this background that on this last mile, the ZESA leadership and respective staff are resident at the Hwange Power Station for the duration of the festive period being cognizant of the importance, expectations and urgency that this matter presents.
Accordingly, ZESA would like to assure its valued customers that they will not experience the aggressive load curtailment they have been experiencing in the past few weeks during the festive period. The utility is conversant of the need to guarantee supply to the nation, and thus we not only have measures to mitigate the emergency but also have opportunities to increase capacity and to improve service delivery.
We would like to sincerely apologize to all our valued stakeholders for the inconveniences caused during this period.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A BRIGHTER NEW YEAR!!!
Stakeholder Relations (23/12/2022)