The resurfacing of power cuts across the country as the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) battles to meet national demand owing subdued production mainly at the Hwange Thermal Power Station has become a serious cause for concern.
Of late Zimbabweans have been experiencing interruptions in power supplies at a time when farmers are preparing for the commencement of the imminent 2020/2021 cropping season.
“In the past few days and past few weeks, there is a significant decrease in power supply and there are massive power outages,” lamented Harare East legislator, Tendai Biti, in Parliament recently.
Energy and Power Development Deputy Minister, Magna Mudyiwa, however, said while the electricity situation had improved slightly from what it was in the year 2019 added water at Kariba had not picked up to optimum levels.
“I am sure that you are aware that we share the waters in the Kariba Dam with the Zambian government, so we are generating but not to the maximum of what we should get from Kariba Dam,” explained Mudyiwa.
Mudyiwa said while Zimbabwe has always relied on power imports from South Africa and Mozambique to cover for the deficit, there were payment challenges.
“Now the challenge that we were experiencing is that we are still getting the imports but ZETDC have been failing to service their debts with EDM and HCB (Mozambique power utilities),” She said.
“We are trying to be up to date with ESKOM (South African power utility) as much as we can but because of the low tariffs that we were having since March up to now which were not cost reflective, the utility has accrued quite a huge debt, almost $90 million that should be paid. So that is the challenge that we are having but we are doing our best to make sure that we keep up the good relationship with ESKOM so that we do not go down on our imports.”
She added: “With Mozambique, we are still importing but it is not as healthy as we are getting from ESKOM.”