Since last week we have been waking up in darkness and going to bed in darkness. According to ZESA, we have the low water levels in Kariba dam to blame for this. In our brief analysis, we pointed out that this is not really true. ZESA has made a series of mistakes in the past three decades that have cumulated in this recent catastrophe.

Given the chilling effects, these aggressive power cuts are likely to have on our economy ZESA have said they are looking for ways to mitigate them. It’s the usual short term concoction really. They are roping in Mozambique who usually have more power than they need.

According to ZESA Holdings spokesperson, Fullard Gwasira:

Zesa is currently working towards increasing imports, particularly from Mozambique’s (Hydro Cahora Bassa), but this is also coupled with initiatives that we have undertaken to try and increase power generation in the country.

For instance, Hwange Power Station (HPS) is now running on four generators and the fifth one is set to come on-line soon and this is a huge generator, which can produce up to 100 megawatts.

Will this work?

While I think importing will work in the short term it does nothing for ZESA in the long term. There is also the issue of foreign currency. Zimbabwe has an unhealthy reliance on foreign currency for everything at the moment. The most sensible solution would be to boost production at Hwange and look into solar.

Despite Mr Gwasira’s remarks rest assured that this is not going to happen any time soon unless there is a significant change in the government’s attitude. We have all heard of these upgrades and not seen any improvement in power generation. In fact, ZESA’s own statistics show a continued decrease in power generation over the years. All in spite of upgrades.

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