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ZESA chair Gata admits ‘obsolete’ Hwange technology is 38 years old

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Business |

Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) executive chairman Sydney Gata has admitted technology being used at Hwange Thermal Power Station is 38 years old and it is expected to operate at every second, hence several faults resulting in short supply of electricity.

Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) executive chairman Sydney Gata
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) executive chairman Sydney Gata

Speaking to editors and journalists during a tour of the Hwange thermal plant last week, Gata said the coal fired Hwange station some weekends, switches off generators to allow maintenance to take place.

Gata, however, noted that the machines have survived almost four decades, making them very obsolete to operate with.

“My wife complains so much that electricity went out on a Sunday morning when industry is shut down and asks why we switch off. Then I said look, it is the only time we do maintenance because we are 24/7 year in year out,” he said.

“The media will write about breakdowns and whatever, big news. But I say to you, this asset was designed and built in 1983. In fact, the first unit was commissioned at the end of 1983. The technology deployed here is of the 1970s generation.

“So the designs in the power station are 1972. And since November 1983, has been operating every second, everyday until it was taken out for inspection in 1996.

“These things are 38 years old. Some of us here drive Mercedes Benz. I’m yet to see a Mercedes Benz that is 38 years old on the road going at full speed. Because when we switch on our generator, we operate at maximum capacity.”

Speaking at the same platform, Gata accused Finance Ministry secretary George Guvamatanga of refusing to guarantee an Independent Power Producers’ (IPP) deal that had a potential to produce 300 megawatts of electricity, which would go a long way in easing the current power crisis that has seriously affected the operations of business and industry.

“The secretary for Finance is the main culprit. I can put it in writing so that you can go and tell him this is what I said.

“It is the Ministry of Finance that is responsible for issuing those guarantees which can unlock a lot of capacity that can end load shedding.

“Not only that, we could export electricity to South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia which are more desperate than ourselves,” Gata added. Nehanda Radio

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