Zimbabwe will continue to experience load shedding despite commissioning Hwange Power Station Unit 7 because the unit is not yet operating at full capacity and South Africa has reneged on its contract to supply Zimbabwe with power.
Energy Minister Zhemu Soda told Parliament yesterday that South Africa was not giving Zimbabwe adequate power as per their contract because of power problems Pretoria was experiencing at home.
Soda said Unit 7 was only supplying 200 MW at the moment, having progressed from 50MW to 75MW and then to 200.
Responding to questions in Parliament Soda said: “Unit 7 was finally synchronised on the 20th March and is still undergoing commissioning tests where it shall be operating at various performing levels. It started off at 50, moved to 75 and as we speak, it is sending out around 200 megawatts but it shall be scaled up to 300 with time as they continue to do their compliance tests.
“Mr. Speaker Sir, Hwange Power Station, the old units continue to give us problems. I once said in this House that ultimately, our intention would be to rehabilitate the old units with the intention of restoring the performance to the installed capacity of 920 megawatts. As we speak, today Hwange is sending out 303 megawatts into the grid and we are also receiving electricity from Kariba. We are still at 350 megawatts. It is our hope that as we begin the month of April, water allocations are going to be reviewed by ZRA so that we ramp up on our production of electricity from Kariba.
“I agree with the Hon. Member on the concern that he has raised that the power supply situation is still depressed, even with the synchronisation that has happened on Unit 7, we are still below demand that is currently obtaining. We are looking forward to the completion of expansion project by bringing in Unit 8 which will come after April but precisely in May, according to the targets that ZPC has on bringing that unit onto the grid. Like I once said, it is only when we have completed the expansion project that we would have sufficiently dealt with the load shedding situation that we are currently experiencing.”
Below is the full Q & A:
HON. MATEWU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is to the Minister of Energy. What is Government policy in relation to the new Unit 7 at Hwange? What the citizens had been assured is that once we roll out Unit 7, there is going to be more electricity in the households but it has now gone even worse. There is now continuous and substantive lack of electricity. In Marondera for example, we only get electricity two hours at night. In the day, there is nothing. What is Government doing to ensure that people have electricity in their homes? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. This is not a policy issue but I get the concern from the Hon. Member that the power situation has been depressed. I will give an explanation but also to indicate that Unit 7 was finally synchronised on the 20th March and is still undergoing commissioning tests where it shall be operating at various performing levels. It started off at 50, moved to 75 and as we speak, it is sending out around 200 megawatts but it shall be scaled up to 300 with time as they continue to do their compliance tests.
Continued next page