Zimbabwe makes drastic measures to ease power cuts

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Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge

As part of measures adopted by Government to reduce massive power cuts being experienced countrywide, major mining companies and other huge electricity consumers will have to reduce consumption by up to 25 percent, while security cantonments have been asked to load-shed non-critical areas.

The measures were announced by Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge in the National Assembly yesterday when briefing parliamentarians on the power situation.

It also emerged that Sable Chemicals owed the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company $150 million in unpaid bills.

“Noting that there are some large users of power such as Mimosa, Unki, Zimplats, Zimasco, Zim Alloys and Afrochine; these are to be asked by ZETDC to drop load by up to 25 percent on the basis of existing contracts.

“It would be up to these large power users to decide on which areas of their operations to load-shed. This is expected to yield 25MW,” Dr Undenge said.

“Security cantonments (ZNA and ZRP) shall be requested to voluntarily load shed non-critical and residential loads as army and police institutions so as to share the burden.”

Dr Undenge said generation at the small thermal power stations in Harare, Munyati and Bulawayo would also be increased to augment supplies from Kariba Hydro Power Station.

He said 40 MW being consumed by Sable Chemicals that manufacture ammonium nitrate fertiliser would be diverted to residential areas.

“The 40 MW currently being availed to Sable Chemicals will be diverted to residential areas in order to reduce quantum of power loads being shed. This alone would reduce Harare’s load shedding to about six hours. It must be noted that the Sable Chemicals power account now stands at $150 million in debt. This is a burden which ZETDC is currently carrying on its own at a time when their revenues are expected to dwindle.

“It is conceded that local production of ammonium nitrate would stop as a result of this action. The product would have to be imported,” he said.

Minister Undenge said load-shedding would also be introduced in central business districts of Harare and Bulawayo as way of saving electricity and reduce the duration residents go without electricity.

~ The Herald.

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