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    ZESA suffers heavy transformers loss


    September 6, 2022 - Business Weekly

     

      The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has in the past five years, lost 1 282 transformers worth nearly half a billion US dollars due to vandalism in what Government says is now an act of sabotage.

      This has worsened power supply distribution in the country for both businesses and household customers.

      In 2021 alone, the power utility lost 288 transformers, plunging thousands into darkness. This was against a production of 281 transformers during the same year.

      Energy and Power Development Deputy Minister, Magna Mudyiwa, said cases of vandalism remained one of the major challenges affecting power supply in the country, at a time demand is rising due to increased economic activity against reduced production capacity at the main power producing stations in Kariba and Hwange.

      'Top of the challenges affecting power supply in the country is the issue of vandalism and this is taking us backwards. Last year a total of 288 transformers were lost.

      'From January 2017 to 2022, ZESA lost 1 282 transformers to vandalism and these are worth US$495 million. This is 10 times the replacement value.

      'I think these criminals have since moved from just vandalism to total sabotage. ZESA is now losing more transformers than they can replace.

      'So you can see how vandalism is slowing down production of the much needed electricity,' she said. She was speaking during the Global Renaissance Investments (GRI) Zimbabwe Infrastructure Investment Summit held in Victoria Falls.

      She added the power utility was facing a multitude of other challenges such as old equipment at its power generation plants in Hwange as well as the smaller thermal units in Bulawayo, Harare and Munyati.

      Hwange is currently producing an average 400MW against capacity of 900MW due to old equipment.

      'At Hwange for instance, the equipment is now obsolete and can hardly operate at full capacity. Out of the six units, we operate about four or three units sometimes, which is reducing power supplies,' she said adding climate change had also become a menace constantly reduce water levels at Kariba dam.

      The Deputy Minister however indicated the country has vast opportunities for increased energy generation with works already underway to increase power generation at Hwange.

      This is in addition to other smaller generation projects in the pipeline at some of the country's large water bodies and rivers such as Pungwe and Tugwi Mukosi which will be expected to add about 15MW into the national grid as well as at Late Mutirikwi which will generate 5MW.

      'We also have a lot of opportunities for renewable energy such as solar, we have an abundance of sunshine suitable for power generation,' she said.

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