30 September 2013, Harare – ZIMBABWE experienced a 17,69 percent deficit on its total domestic and commercial electricity requirements during the eight months to August 2013, official industry data has shown.
The magnitude implies that industry and households have had to contend with the cost and inconvenience arising from rolling power cuts that the national power utility Zesa Holdings is using to balance available power supplies.
In an effort to balance demand and power supply Zesa Holdings has resorted to alternated load shedding throughout the country during peak demand period usually in the morning and in the evening.
Zimbabwe Power Company assistant corporate executive Mr Douglas Chingoka told the Zimbabwe Mining and Infrastructure Indaba last week that reliable generation capacity stands at a mere 1 320 megawatts. ZPC is a subsidiary of Zesa Holdings.
While the annual mining indaba initially focused on mining issues it is now incorporating infrastructure issues, which include power because Zimbabwe and the continent face huge challenges in this respect.
Local generation capacity falls far short of the demand of 2 200MW, which also stands way above installed capacity of just above 1 900MW as new power generation projects take time to complete.
Zimbabwe imported 13,22 percent of the total electricity consumed in the country between January and August this year while 37,2 percent was generated in Kariba, 28,6 percent at Hwange Thermal Power Station, 1,44 percent at Munyati, 1,24 percent in Bulawayo and 0,46 percent in Harare.
“Zimbabwe is plagued by a shortage of power. Reliable capacity is of the order of 1 320 megawatts against a demand of about 2 200 megawatts. There is need for investments to be made in order to increase the amount of reliable capacity,” Mr Chingoka told the indaba.
The grim scenario points to the urgent need to start working on implementation of all power projects on the cards without delay as current shortages are constraining economic recovery.
Companies in the mining and other sectors of the economy have had to either invest in expensive diesel power generators or pay in advanced for ring-fenced import direct power supplies.
While this has been heavy on the pocket, those with weak balance sheets to make such high cost alternative arrangements have had to contend with the inconveniences of load shedding.