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Legislators berate govt over electricity shortages

BY LUBALETHU NDLOVU

Bulawayo Central Member of Parliament, Nicola Watson has called on the Ministry of Energy and Power Development to install a pipeline from Khami Dam to the Bulawayo Power Station, a development that will reduce the use of treated water at the plant.

Currently, the thermal station is using treated water for its boilers at a time when dam levels in the city continue to drop.

Speaking in parliament recently, Watson said the pipeline will ensure that the power station uses recycled water instead of treated water.  

“There was supposed to be a pipeline being built from Khami dam to the power station to stop the use of potable water in the power station because it is precious,” said the legislator.

In 2015, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) was granted permission by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to draw water from Khami Dam.

In response, Energy and Power Development deputy minister Magna Mudyiwa said the government was working on rehabilitating all the power stations in the country.

“I would like to inform the House that there are plans to refurbish or repower the small thermal power stations, that is Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare Power Stations.  

“The plans involve changing of the boiler technology so that these power stations can use low-quality grade coal to reduce the cost of generation and improve efficiency.  Currently, the power stations use a 10-grade technology that utilises high-quality coal which is expensive,” he said.

The deputy minister was taken to task on why the government was spending a lot of money upgrading the power stations which had outlived their life spans instead of adopting new technology.

“The cost of repairing the small power thermal stations because of their age now it is so much that can we not invest in new technology that is outside coal because coal itself is becoming extinct to the extent that we are now finding it difficult to even supply Hwange which is our main power station,” said Mbizo Member of Parliament Settlement Chikwinya.

Mudyiwa said while the government was considering the adoption of new technology there was a need to keep the thermal power stations running to augment electricity supplies in the country.

“The issue at the moment is that we cannot ignore those power stations which are already operational.  It is just a matter of upgrading to the level where we can generate more electricity at the moment,” said Honorable Mudyiwa. 

 The deputy minister added that they were considering renewable energy as a long term solution to the electricity challenges being faced in the country.

“The long term measure that we have is that we are encouraging renewable energy, solar energy plants; we have a number of such projects which are under consideration and that will be added on to the grid in the near future once they are concluded,” said Hon Mudyiwa.

Zimbabwe is currently grappling a power crisis that has seen citizens forced to endure up to 18 hours of load shedding.

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