Realistically, here’s when the severe ZESA load shedding is likely to end

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There has been a lot of speculation about when the current severe load shedding by ZESA is likely to end, and information from ZESA itself and generally government hasn’t been clear. What has caused even more confusion is the announcement by government this week that capacity at the country’s power stations will only improve in about 2 years.

A notice by ZESA that they issued earlier this month however has a clue about when you should expect the severe load shedding to end. This way you can plan correctly depending on your needs for power in this period.

In the notice, in which ZESA reveals the problem of depleted water levels at Kariba dam, the company says:

ZESA Holdings would like to advise its valued customers countrywide of the reduction in generation at Kariba Power Station due to depleted dam water levels, commencing on Tuesday 1st September 2015…

Generation will consequently be reduced from the normal 750MW to 475MW until dam levels have risen to the requisite levels.

During this period, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) will take full advantage of the reduction of Units in service at Kariba to undertake the annual statutory maintenance, scheduled to be conducted between the 1st of September 2015 and 28 January 2016.

The statement shows 3 things:

  1. Until the water levels improve, we should not expect the load shedding to reduce. Zimbabwe’s rainy season starts in November and since the dam won’t fill up immediately, it could be until December or January before the water levels improve.
  2. Considering that dry seasons are nothing new to Zimbabwe, and yet in previous years, load shedding has never been this severe, it’s more than just water levels that has caused the severe load shedding. As such even if the water levels improve, the power generation might not be restored immediately.
  3. The statement says that maintenance will be conducted between 1 September and 28 January 2016. That latter date is likely your answer!

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