Load-shedding expected to ease in the next few days

By Luckmore Safuli

Government says the current load shedding being experienced is expected to ease within the next few days as the domestic power utility ZESA is working flat out to bring back Unit 5 into service while the other two units are set to be in operation before year end.

Ticker headline…power generation

Efforts to restore power supply to optimum level are underway with government satisfied with plans by the domestic power utility to address the challenges being faced in power generation.

Energy and Power Development Minister Hon Zhemu Soda who was on a tour of Hwange Power Station and US$1.5 billion Hwange Units 7 & 8 Expansion project said consumers should expect improved supply as Unit 5 is scheduled to be back in service within the next few days.

“We are expecting Unit 5 to be back into service anytime once diesel is availed, which we heard is on the way so l think in the next two or three days will be back into service. Once Unit 5 is back into service power outages will be a thing of the past.”

Currently three units are in service producing around 260MW against a design capacity of 360MW. Unit 6 which has a design capacity of 220MW is currently on forced outage due to rotor earth fault while Unit 3 is on planned major overhaul.

Meanwhile the US$1.5 billion Hwange Expansion project which is currently 50% complete is slightly behind scheduled by around 137 days due to global travel restrictions caused by Covid-19.

Government has however expressed its resolve to address challenges being faced in the implementation of the project.

“I have noted that the project is progressing well serve for a few setbacks we have had as a result of covid-19-induced travel restrictions. Some experts were demobilized and had to go back to their countries. Efforts are underway to have them back into the country,” the Energy Minister said.

The Hwange 7 & 8 Expansion project is set to deliver 600MW into the national grid with the first unit initially scheduled to be on commercial operation on October 2021. The mega project is part of the country’s vision of attaining energy self-sufficiency and reducing power import bill.