Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Zesa blames faults for incessant blackouts

By Andile Tshuma and Courtney Matende

Power cuts that are being experienced countrywide have raised the ire of consumers as many areas are going for hours without power almost on a daily basis.

File picture of residents demonstrating against power utility ZESA
File picture of residents demonstrating against power utility ZESA

A number of Bulawayo suburbs have been experiencing intermittent power cuts that residents say are inconveniencing them.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Zesa Southern Region Manager, Engineer Lovemore Chinaka said the power outages in the city were as a result of faults.

“We have not introduced any load shedding in the city. However, some areas in Bulawayo are experiencing power cuts because of faults in our cables. These cable faults are the cause of power cuts and there is no load shedding in place at the moment,” said Eng Chinaka.

Bulawayo residents who spoke to The Chronicle expressed disgruntlement over the issue of power outages.

“We cannot be having a situation where we have blackout when we are least expecting it. The Government must do something about it,” said Mr Norman Moyo from Bulawayo’s Nkulumane suburb.

Another resident, Mrs Monica Mzizi said no explanation is given before the power cuts are effected.

“We cannot be made to guess on when and where we are going to have electricity. We understand that there may be problems but these must be explained to us. We are staying literally in the dark, without knowledge of what is happening,” she said.

Zesa public relations manager, Mr Fullard Gwasira, had at the time of writing not responded to questions that The Chronicle had e-mailed to him.

However, indications are that the country’s electrical power generation continues to decline amid efforts by government to reduce consumption through energy management regulations.

At a meeting on Wednesday in Gweru, Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) Research and Energy Efficiency Engineer, Tanda Chisi said the country currently has a power supply of 1 649 megawatts (MW) against a demand of 1 675MW.

“The ZETDC (Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company) told us that we are expecting the maximum power demand to be 1 675MW, which would imply a shortfall of 26MW,” said Eng Chisi.

He said the country would need an additional 1 000MW to meet demand if everyone is to have access to electricity.

Power generation at Hwange Thermal Power Station has dropped from 920 to 438 MW and it no longer has sufficient coal supply.

Eng Chisi said Kariba Power Station is not producing the 1 000MW it usually produces.

He said fortunately, Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) is selling power to Zesa at a cheaper price.

“The DC link between HCB and South Africa was badly affected by Cyclone Idai so HCB has nowhere to put their power so they sell it to us at a cheaper price. We were getting 50MW to 165MW from HCB,” he said. The Chronicle