For the past two months, Zimbabwe has been experiencing severe unstable power supply. This came after South Africa’s Eskom experienced massive problems in relations to finances which led it to implement massive power cuts for the first time since 1994.
Zimbabwe Electricity supply authority (ZESA) Holdings reportedly owed South Africa power utility, Eskom and Mozambican Power Company an estimate of US$100 million debt for power imports, with Eskom struggling to survive amidst its huge debt, the power utility can’t afford to give ZESA electricity on credit.
Zimbabwe has a daily peak demand of 1 400MW of which currently the country is producing 800 MW from a supposed 930 MW. This is, therefore, a direct indication that despite low water levels in the Kariba dam, the country doesn’t meet the country’s electricity demand.
Zimbabwe can access up to 450MW from both South Africa and Mozambique if the two regional power utilities are paid off their monies which amounts to an estimated US$100 million. If the country is able to import from its regional countries unstable electricity supply in the country will eventually cease.
ZESA is also failing to supply electricity enough for the country because it is selling its electricity at very low prices. ZESA currently charges $0, 0986 per kilowatt hour nearly $0,025 when using the inter-bank rate and about $0, 015 when using the parallel market rate while it costs about $0, 11 per kWh to produce electricity locally. Thus, ZESA is operating at a loss, therefore, a clear indication of why the country is experiencing these extraordinary power cuts.
Zambia which shares hydropower project with Zimbabwe at Kariba dam reportedly has surplus electricity production which is expected to power the SADC. Zambia generates practically all its energy production from its own primary resources. These resources include biomass, coal and hydroelectricity.
Recently the minister of Energy Fortune Chasi reportedly said that water levels in Lake Kariba were so low that current supplies will not be able to generate power that is sufficient for the country.
Thus, according to a statement released by Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) in early May this year, electricity generation at Kariba Power Company was reduced to an average of 358 MW from the planned 542 MW as a result of water allocation reduction.
Hwange power station which reportedly being under construction has a capacity of producing 930MW but is currently generating less than 400MW, however, upon its completion, the power station will generate 1200 MW.