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Zimbabwe Currently Producing Only 14% Electricity

Zimbabwe Electricity Situation Explained! Here Is Everything You Need To Know!

Zimbabweans are experiencing yet another terrible phase of incessant power cuts, a problem which has persistently hogged the country. The dark periods of 2008, 2019 and late 2022 still ring clear in people’s minds.

Owing to the impending drought and negligible rains experienced in the 2023/24 rain season, the country’s power situation is yet to experience the worst.

Zimbabwe’s electricity comes from coal and hydroelectric power plants. In 2021, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority said the country’s energy supply was 70% hydropower, 29% coal, and renewable energy sources. However, the main hydropower plant at Kariba Dam and the Hwange coal-fired power station function at about 33% of their capacity owing to old equipment and the low water level at Kariba.

The El Nino-induced below-average rainfall has not helped the situation.

The Zambezi River Authority, which manages water use at Kariba, released an update on the Lake Kariba levels, and the situation is gloomy. As of 19 March 2024, the water level is at 477.54m, which is 14.16% compared to 478.12m (18.25%) in the same period last year.

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The water level on 6 March 2024 was 477.66m (15%). The Zambezi River flow recorded at Victoria Falls Gauging Station on 19 March 2024 was 751m3/s in contrast to 2510m3/s recorded in 2023 during the same period. On 6 March 2024, the Zambezi River flow was 794m3/s, while it was 2569m3/s at the same time last year.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority group financial controller, Eliab Chikwenhere, revealed to the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development that reduced water levels at Kariba have impaired power generation at the hydro station.

He added:

“The electricity shortages we are facing are a result of depressed generation at Kariba due to low water levels. We are currently generating 240MW against an installed capacity of 1050MW.”

Zimbabwe has an electricity demand of 1700MW but is only generating 240MW, which is about 14%. Because of the depressingly low levels at Lake Kariba, the Zambezi River Authority, which manages water use at Kariba, rationed water allocated to power utilities in Zambia and Zimbabwe to 16 billion cubic metres from 40 billion cubic metres in 2023.

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