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Council wants to retain ‘idle’ Bulawayo Power Station built in 1947

The Bulawayo City Council said on Monday it was looking for investment partners to revamp the city’s thermal power generating plant, which has been idle for a long time.

Addressing city residents on proposals to transfer the plant to the national power utility, deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube said the municipality did not have the financial or technical capacity to run the station single handedly, but did not want to dispose of it.

He said the city council was, therefore, looking for potential investment partners to revive the coal-fired power plant.

“Consultations are ongoing and the council was exploring various options through engagement of stakeholders.

“We felt its very key to consult business community and residents as they are major consumers of power and decision that will be taken has an impact on the growth and sustainability of your businesses in the city,” he said.

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The station was built in 1947 to generate power for the city, and belonged to the municipality until the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) took over operations in 1987 under a revenue sharing agreement with the municipality.

The city still retains ownership of the power plant, and in 2019 opposed Zesa’s plans to demolish it on grounds it was too old.

Officials said Zesa was now allegedly neglecting its responsibilities, forcing the city authorities to seek other potential partners for the project.

“We are also exploring other options such as partnerships or getting royalties, but not total disposal of the station,” Ncube said.

“The royalties will help us to generate income which will be channelled towards funding other critical infrastructure projects such as sewerage, water, and road rehabilitation,” he said. New Ziana