FOR about 10 days, the country has endured prolonged load shedding; high winter demand and breakdowns at production facilities worsening historically subdued generation capacity.
A few days ago, the country lost a unit that produces 125MW at Kariba hydro plant. Hwange and Harare coal-fired facilities have been underperforming as well.
This substantially curtailed output, hence the long periods of no power for the country.
Fortunately, a respite is on the way.
The country will begin receiving 100MW from Zambia's state-owned ZESCO early next month under a five-year deal, our sister paper, The Sunday Mail, reported yesterday.
Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) acting managing director Mr Howard Choga said ZESCO has demanded to be paid first before they deliver the electricity.
'We signed power import deals with Zambia a long time ago, but we had not been getting electricity from that country because of cash flow challenges,' he said.
'Now, because we have prepaid, we expect this to be settled in the coming weeks and we will start receiving 100MW from Zambia.
We have to prepay them a month before we receive the electricity.'
With 100MW secured from Zambia, ZETDC will expect Mozambique to add 150MW on 50MW it is already exporting to us.
A team from Mozambique was expected here yesterday on a weeklong visit during which the deal to increase the feed should be sealed.
Said Mr Choga:
'We are getting 50MW from Cahora Bassa and 50MW from EDM in Mozambique.
We had signed a deal for 200MW with EDM, but we were only accessing 50MW.
So they are sending a delegation into the country tomorrow (today) and they will be in the country for the whole week so we will discuss how we can access the remaining 150MW.'
Hopefully, the Mozambique talks would be successful.
If that happens, the country's energy supply would be boosted by 250MW.
That will be a welcome addition to the average 1 201MW we are producing locally.
Having endured probably our worst of load shedding in recent months as Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda put it in Parliament on Wednesday, we look forward to the imported energy to arrive as soon as possible and for the underperforming local units to return to top production.
The need for enough electricity is obvious.
Electricity is what drives an economy, hospitals need it to preserve the health and lives of patients and households need it to cook, for lighting and so on.
Without it business stops, health facilities struggle to deliver their critical services and homes become dysfunctional.
We therefore commend the Government, through ZETDC, for finalising the Zambia transaction and for advancing the Mozambican one.
Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC)
We also hope that the Zimbabwe Power Company is working hard to bring the broken down Kariba unit back at work and ensuring general stability of the system so that the country has reliable power supply.
Hwange thermal station, should, as expected start dispatching new output when one of the two 300MW units being built comes on stream around October and the other one by the March 2023 quarter.
That would boost general power availability while enhancing local generation. Industry will run smoothly.
Previously, the ZETDC faced challenges securing enough foreign currency to finance importation of electricity.
However, this time, we are sure that a recent decision by the Government to permit ZETDC to bill exporting companies in foreign currency will assist in harnessing adequate resources for the parastatal to settle its bills with foreign suppliers.