Load shedding intensifies


THE country has plunged back into long  hours of load shedding following a breakdown of two units at Hwange Thermal Power Station yesterday.

Over the last few weeks, the country has been experiencing a generally improved supply in electricity characterised by few hours of load shedding.

The fall of units one and five has resulted in the loss of 250 megawatts from the national grid.

Speaking after a meeting with petroleum industry players yesterday, Energy minister Fortune Chasi said engineers are working to get the two units back on the national grid.

 “Over the past weeks, there has been a general upward improvement in the supply of electricity so the trend is going to continue. However, we have had two units in Hwange that have broken down.

“We are very hopeful that they are brought back online as soon as possible. Thereafter, we are targeting the time around June to completely do away with load shedding.

“It is regrettable that we have somewhat regressed in the past few days but I believe we are completely on top of the situation,” Chasi said.

However, the recent claim that load shedding will be a thing of the past by June has been met with scepticism by members of the public who have been subjected to long hours of power cuts since last year.

At one point, citizens were going for up to 18 hours without power, a development that also negatively affected the productive sectors.

The power cuts were worsened by low water levels at Kariba Dam.

Chasi said water levels at Kariba Dam stand at 12 percent, with inflows from the northern part of the continent expected to gradually increase the water levels.

“There have been inflows into the dam but as you know we are in water conservation mode. We do not want to begin to use that water at the moment so both Zambia and Zimbabwe are in that mode under the Zambezi River Authority.

“We are now at about 12 percent but we obviously need to grow that water significantly to enable power generation. We are happy that the rains up north are resulting in inflows. We need much more to be comfortable to go back to relying on Kariba,” he said.

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