Power production on the verge of shutdown at Zim's Kariba Dam

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Within 14 weeks, Zimbabwe's anchor electricity power producer Kariba Dam will not be able to deliver power, a senior government official told Parliament on Thursday.

Zimbabwe currently faces a power supply deficit which has seen customers being load shed for as long as 10 hours.

According to newly appointed Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi, this is due to a combination of factors which include "receding water levels at Kariba Dam."

Minister Chasi said as of last week, water levels at Kariba Dam had receded to 32%, and as of Monday, had dropped to 29%. 

"So, we can all do the mathematics involved in that to show and understand the problem at hand in terms of reduction of water levels at Kariba.  

"If that trend continues at that pace, this means that in theory, within 14 weeks, Kariba will not be able to deliver power."

Eskom to the rescue?

Kariba is currently producing 358 MW, per day despite having a capacity to produce 1 050 MW. Thermal power station Hwange is currently performing below its average due to an obsolete plant, long past its intended lifespan.

As a quick intervention, Minister Chasi said Zimbabwe would turn to Eskom in South Africa and HCB in Mozambique. "The power imports of up to 400 MW can be unlocked by a bankable plan to both Eskom and HCB."

He said the imports would securitise power supply for the exporting mines and industries and release power for the other customers, some of whom are pre-paying. He proposed that exporters pay their electricity bills in foreign currency in proportion to their foreign currency retention percentage. 

"This arrangement is estimated to raise $11m against an estimated bill of $14m per month," he said. 

The foreign currency generated would go towards meeting the current power import bills plus a portion for the amortisation of arrears. 


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