ZESA blames fresh power cuts on ‘increased economic activity’

BULAWAYO – Power utility ZESA has warned of rolling power cuts until September 16, the company claims because the economy is BOOMING!

In a statement on Tuesday, ZESA’s power generating arm ZETDC said the power deficit started on April 12 due to faulty equipment at Hwange, the coal-powered station.

Astonishingly, ZESA also blamed “increased economic activities” for the outages – sparking criticism that it was doing “propaganda” for the ruling Zanu PF party to mask its failures.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime has desperately tried to paint a picture of economic progress after he assumed power in a military coup in 2017, ousting long-time leader Robert Mugabe.

In reality, Zimbabweans say they are poorer under Mnangagwa. Annual inflation for August surged to 285.0 percent, from 256.9 percent in July. Teachers and nurses get allowances of US$175 monthly, but their local currency salary is around Z$55,000 (about US$80).

ZESA spokesman George Manyaya told ZimLive on Wednesday that one of the two units that had broken down at Hwange had been repaired.

“The second one should be back up by Thursday morning and we should then revert to the normal load shedding schedule,” Manyaya said.

In an update on its website on Wednesday, the Zimbabwe Power Company said the country was generating 934 MW of electricity. Manyaya insisted that “demand is indeed growing” to justify ZESA’s claim of accelerated economic activity.

“We are sitting on applications of 2,100 MW of power. What is true is that our customers don’t want explanations, they want power, and we have to up our game. We look forward to the commissioning of the Hwange power units 7 and 8 which should add 300 MW each to the grid, the first in November and the second early next year,” he said.

Hwange was generating just 145 MW of power on Wednesday, against a design capacity of 920 MW. Munyati (13 MW), Bulawayo (14 MW), Harare (11 MW) and the hydro-powered Kariba’s 751 MW were keeping the lights on.

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