Zim power crisis about to get worse as Kariba shuts down

Zimbabwe’s power crisis is about to get a lot worse; Kariba, which produces over 70% of the country’s power, has to shut down because it has run out of water to generate electricity.

The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) which runs the dam, has written to the Zimbabwe Power Company to say Kariba South has to close until at least January. 

“With the current performance of the 2022/2023 rainfall season in the Kariba Lower Catchment where the river flows are yet to improve and the associated inflows from the Upper Kariba Catchment which will only influence any potential increase in the Lake Level at Kariba during the later part of the first quarter of 2023, it is highly unlikely that there will be any reasonable inflow augmentation in the remaining period of the year 2022, giving little or no chance of improvement in the reservoir storage levels during the remaining period of the year 2022 and going into the first quarter of the year 2023,” ZRA CEO Munyaradzi Munodawafa wrote on Friday. 

ZRA has been “feft with no choice but to firmly guide that ZPC/KHPC immediately ensures that generation activities at the South Bank Power Station are wholly suspended henceforth, until January 2023”, when a fresh assessment can be done, he said. 

Zimbabweans are already facing long hours without power, as Hwange’s old power plant keeps breaking down at a time that Kariba has been generating less due to record low water levels. 

The new Hwange power units 7 & 8, which will add a combined 600MW, are only expected to come on to the grid in 2023.