Zimbabwe News

Energy Minister: Load shedding will not exceed stage one during winter season

Energy and Power Development Minister Edgar Moyo said that load-shedding this winter will be minimal and will not exceed “Stage One”.

In the past, Zimbabweans had to endure up to 18 hours without power in winter due to increased usage by domestic, commercial, and winter wheat farmers.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Minister Moyo said the commissioning of new generation units at Hwange Thermal Power Station, the optimisation of power generation at Kariba Dam, contributions from independent power producers (IPPs), and imports will ensure load shedding is minimized. He said:

We have made several plans to ensure that the winter power supply situation is better than expected and we are not expecting to exceed Stage One load-shedding despite the power crisis in the region.

As you can see, despite the challenges, we have managed to minimise load-shedding for several months now.

We are anticipating reduced load curtailment owing to maximum generation at the Hwange Units 7 and 8, which are consistently producing over 600MW; Hwange Units 1-6 are performing fairly well, producing an average of 300MW from the enhanced maintenance and prioritisation of critical spares.

Kariba dispatch is being optimised to produce an average of 250MW, with a peak supply of up to 400MW.

We have several existing import arrangements with our counterparts, and ZETDC (Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company) will also be actively involved in the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) Day Ahead Market to access any excess power from the region.

Minister Moyo said that the winter wheat programme and other key economic sectors will be prioritized. He said:

Independent power producers are producing an average of 50MW, while solar net metering capacity is at 24MW and an additional 16MW is expected this winter.

We have ring-fenced 100MW for the winter wheat programme to secure national food security.

Other key economic sectors such as mining, industry, commercial, water pumping, hospitals, and critical institutions are key sectors being prioritised alongside winter wheat farming.

Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) general manager (stakeholder relations) George Manyaya clarified that Stage One load-shedding means power cuts will be minimal. He said:

The load-shedding will be very minimal; maybe four to six hours a day.

We cannot quantify our stages of load-shedding using the South African way of quantification because of the difference in economy and population.

So, in our case, Stage One simply means minimal load-shedding.

This is different from the 18 hours-a-day load-shedding that households used to endure.

However, the country will have minimal load-shedding compared to other countries in the region.

According to the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), on Monday 20 May 2024, the Hwange Thermal Power Station was producing about 989 MW, Kariba 551 MW, and IPPs 46 MW, to give a total of 1 586 MW.

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