ZESA’s Power Supply Figures Not Making Sense. Should We Be Worried?

zesa-power-field-electricitRecently we have been extremely happy about the power situation in Zimbabwe. It’s a rare thing now to get load shedding, something we were not used  to at all. To explain the sudden return to normalcy, ZESA has said that the additional power is being imported from South Africa’s Eskom. A total of 300MW is being imported.

In an effort to understand this ourselves we have looked at the power supply figures provided by ZESA when the load shedding was extreme, around September last year. This is part of a statement ZESA released then:

Zimbabwe needs at least 2,000 MW of electricity
Zimbabwe has 5 power stations that we source power from: Kariba, Hwange, Harare, Munyati and Bulawayo
At full capacity these power stations can only generate 1,910 MW; Hwange 920, Kariba 750 MW, Munyati 100 MW, Bulawayo 90 MW and Harare 50 MW
However at the moment the power stations are generating a mere 984 MW of power, just under 50% of our requirement
To manage the situation, certain areas are being plunged into darkness of close to 24 hrs

Essentially this means that unless we have about 2,000MW of power being provided by ZESA, there’s going to be load shedding.

We then looked at the current power supply figures provided by ZESA on its website (which, by the way, also confirm the import) and here’s a screenshot from what’s there:

ZESA Load shedding status 5 February 2016

Forget that the figures actually work out to only, 1.221MW at maximum, if we go with the 1,303MW that means as a country we are still short about 697MW.

This not making sense means something is not being disclosed here. Is it that industries that used to consume the power didn’t come back after 2015. Is it that Sable Chemicals accounted for the rest of that power we needed? The company shut down last year. Is it several in Sable’s industry? Whatever it is, these figures are not making sense yet.