Government seeks US$30m for Zesa

Loughty Dube


GOVERNMENT is trying to raise US$30 million required by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) to purchase spares to repair six damaged generators at the Hwange power station.



ify>Zesa also wants to use the money to refurbish the entire power station that is operating at far below capacity.


The six generators at the power station developed faults last week and caused a serious electricity deficit that had large parts of the country going without electricity for periods of up to 10 hours daily.


The generators were resuscitated late last week but four of them are operating way below capacity while the other two have completely packed up.


Zesa corporate affairs manager, James Maridadi, this week confirmed that government was trying to raise US$30 million for the power company to refurbish Hwange power station.


“We have made an appeal to government for US$30 million to enable us to repair the six generators and refurbish the power station. Government is frantically looking for the cash for us,” Maridadi said.


The country’s power problems worsened after the main line drawing power from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was damaged.


Maridadi said Hwange power station was in “crisis operations”.


“As we speak right now, four of the generators are operating on a limping basis while two are completely non-functional,” he said.


“From a capacity output of 740 megawatts, Hwange power station is generating an erratic 300 and 400 megawatts of electricity a day,” Maridadi said.


Zimbabwe needs over 1 200 megawatts of electricity a day and the power deficit has forced Zesa to introduce load-shedding.


Maridadi however said the Bulawayo thermal power station, one of the three thermal power stations that were not operational due to coal shortages last week, was now operational while Munyati and Harare thermal stations were still out.


“The coal shortages that forced the three thermal stations to cease operations are still persisting but the Bulawayo power station is back in operation,” he said.


To make up for the deficit, Zimbabwe imports more than 30% of its power requirements from the DRC while additional power is imported from South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia when they have excess capacity.


Maridadi said Zesa’s pricing system was not viable and that this had contributed to the organisation’s reliance on government for support.


“There is need to review our tariffs which are sub-economic. We import electricity at a higher rate than we are selling it and we are urging government to reconsider the pricing system,” Maridadi said.