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Incessant rains causing power outages: Energy Minister

Electric transmission lines

By Joyce Mukucha

The prolonged power outages currently occurring in the country are due to the incessant rains, a government official has said.

In an interview with the state media, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Honourable Soda Zhemu said currently the country was producing adequate power and blamed the prevailing rainy season for causing increased power outages that are being experienced by citizens in many surbubs.

Residential areas in Harare are enduring an unprecedented electricity crisis. Minister Zhemu said the country was not in a load shedding scenario and stressed the need to endure the situation until the rainy season is over.

“Currently, the country is producing adequate power and Kariba is doing very well. Recently, the Zambezi River Authority had to increase water allocation that is given to ZESCO of Zambia and ZESA so it means power is being generated adequately from Kariba.

“The increased power cuts are being caused by a number of factors which include rains and vandalism of equipment.”

“We are having challenges because of incessant rains. Whenever there is rain, there is a tendency that there is a loss of power in a number of suburbs. If there is a lot of rainfall, given the situation that there are underground cables, there is a tendency of seepage which causes short-circuiting of power supply,” said Honourable Zhemu.

Minister Zhemu said some storms that are being experienced with some rains pulling power lines were also causing loss of power supply.

“Sometimes there is lightning which affect our transformers and obviously that will affect power distribution. So this is what is happening in a number of suburbs with Harare included.

“Then we are also experiencing challenges with trees that are falling on to transmission and distribution power lines resulting in the disruption of power supply.”

Though he admitted that Hwange Power Station was not doing very well, he said it was complimenting to sufficient power generation.

“Hwange Power Station is complimenting though it is not doing very well but the total power which is being generated internally is adequate and we are not in a load shedding situation.”

Honourable Zhemu said the other factor contributing to loss of power is vandalism. He said some power lines are being destroyed for harvesting the copper with some stealing the aluminum conductors.

“We are experiencing a spate of vandalisms where some people are stealing some transformers and in some instances, they are just destroying to extract the transformer oil that they use in their various processes.

“Also, when the transformers are being vandalised they are taking the copper components that are inside the transformers.”

He said the ministry was working tirelessly with engineers who are currently working on the faults to ensure that the electricity supply is restored as soon as possible.

In the past two weeks, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company warned the public to brace up for more load shedding hours after ZESA said their Hwange Power Station has developed a technical fault.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende