State power utility ZESCO says the water levels in Kariba, Itezhi-Tezhi and Kafue Gorge reservoirs are still too low to warrant increased power generation.
ZESCO says the water levels at Itezhi-Tezhi and Kafue Gorge reservoirs have not appreciated sufficiently to allow for normal generation, hence its decision to maintain the generation level at 540 MW out of a capacity of 990 MW.
Giving an update on water situation and status of electricity generation in the country, ZESCO said the reservoir level at Kariba was drawn down to a low of 477.12 metres above Kariba datum by 22 February 2016 which represents 11% of the full storage of the reservoir.
It said the reservoir has now risen to 14% of the full storage. This time last year, Kariba was at 64% of full storage.
“At the beginning of 2016, Zambezi River Authority allocated ZESCO Limited and Kariba Hydro Power Company of Zimbabwe 20 billion cubic metres of water for power generation compared to 40.25 cubic metres that was allocated last year. This further reduction in water allocation translates to reduced generation at Kariba from 500MW last year to 275 MW currently. Similarly, the generation at the newly commissioned Itezhi Tezhi Hydro Power Station is at 60 MW out of a capacity of 120MW,” it said.
It added, “In short, the reservoirs at Kariba, Itezhi-tezhi and Kafue Gorge are still very low, and therefore cannot allow for increased generation of electricity. It is hoped that the country will continue to receive significant amounts of rainfall which will gradually attain desired levels in the reservoirs to warrant increased power generation.”
The power utility says it has been carrying out load management from June 2015, in an effort to sustain the water levels in the reservoirs, which had fallen to critical low levels.
“In this vein, ZESCO urges its esteemed customers to continue using electricity efficiently, and switch to alternative sources of energy such as solar and liquefied petroleum gas. ZESCO will also continue with its mitigation measures to cushion the impact of loadshedding,” it said.
“ZESCO would like to take this opportunity to inform its customers and the general public that the 100MW from Karpowership in Mozambique will be available from 15th March 2016. This is part of the mitigation measures that ZESCO is implementing. ZESCO once again sincerely apologises for the inconvenience the country is experiencing due to the power deficit.”