The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Massive Load-Shedding Begins

Many Zimbabwean football lovers will miss FIFA 2014 Soccer World Cup matches because of increased load shedding, with the latest schedule published by Zesa showing that some areas will be without power almost daily.

The World Cup begins in Brazil tomorrow.

Businesses have not been spared from the load-shedding as demand for power soars during winter.

Eastern suburbs like Mandlay Park, Ruwa, Chadcombe, Epworth, Queensdale and Msasa Park, which fall in the H14 category of the load shedding schedule, are going for up to 16 hours without electricity.

The situation is the same for western high-density suburbs like Warren Park, Glen Norah, Mufakose and Kambuzuma.

Other areas will go for nine hours without electricity daily.

In a statement yesterday, Zesa said the country's maximum demand reached 1 800MW in winter, against generating capacity of between 1 350MW and 1 400MW.

"To this end, Zesa has put in place measures to boost power generation and reduce consumption to minimise load shedding.

"In spite of the measures power supply shortfalls will still be experienced.

"It should be noted that the published schedules should be treated as a guide since power supply and demand are dynamic," the utility said.

Zesa said major referral hospitals and sewer installations, national security establishments, key airports and broadcasting stations would be exempted from load shedding.

"In addition, winter wheat irrigation will receive additional support in the 2014 season to ensure the success of the crop," Zesa said.

"Consumers are being called upon to play their part in reducing demand by using the available power sparingly. All non-essential loads and appliances should be switched off at all times. Non-essential lights and office equipment should be switched off overnight."

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Charles Msipa said load-shedding would disrupt efforts to revive capacity utilisation.

"While we understand that Zesa has a difficult task in balancing demand and power generation they should also put at the forefront the industry and manufacturing sector," he said.

"Many of them are trying against all odds to retain and built market exports and these outages will have a negative impact. They should always consult first not just pick what they think are strategic areas as they leave other areas as they did."

Residents said Zesa should do more on power generation.

"What pains most is that this is coming a few days before the World Cup," said Mr Tinashe Tiki of Glen Norah.

"Everyone has been counting down towards this only to read that we will not have power when exciting matches will be played."

Mr Paymore Mbidzo said load-shedding was unfair as some areas appeared favoured.

Zesa said it was considering installing new boiler technologies for its three thermal power stations in Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati to reduce the power deficit.

The stations are hardly in use as they require a special type of coal from Hwange to fire them.

The new technologies will allow use of different types of coal obtainable from areas closer to the stations.

The project will give the country 240MW.

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