Power supply still a problem in SADC region

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Sinikiwe Marodza

Harare - It seems power supply is still an issue to worry about within the SADC region despite the onset of the rains.

The drought which hit the region last year was the main cause of power shortages in Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and a few other countries in the region.

According to a report from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), low water levels at Kariba dam on the Zambezi River as a result of the drought caused crippling power shortages for Zambia and Zimbabwe since the dam is the main source of electricity for the two countries.

“Power supply system in the SADC region was down since early this year and is still down. Most countries are still not able to produce surplus electricity to trade within the region. And this was mainly caused by the drought-induced low water levels at Kariba dam.

“SADC power supply chain is a grid. Once one country is affected, other countries will be affected too. Zambia and Zimbabwe were affected by the low water levels at Kariba dam that reduced the generation of hydro-electricity,” SAPP co-ordination centre manager, Stephen Dihwa, said this week.

Zimbabwe has for the past seven months been going through power supply shortages that have led to 16 hours of power cuts, despite importing power from Mozambique’s Cahora Bassa and South Africa’s Eskom.

Zambia is still going through power supply shortages as well.

The Zambian Minister of Energy and Water Development, Dora Siliya, early this week issued a statement highlighting that Zambia is yet to recover from the drought induced power supply shortages.

“Water levels in Kariba dam are still low at 12 percent, despite the heavy rains that Zambia is experiencing. Power supply is still an issue, actually the Zambian government has started repossessing licenses from investors that are not utilising them to invest in power generation projects” Siliya said.

South Africa is also among the countries that are currently going through power shortages, and earlier this week, the country’s power utility, Eskom, warned that it may continue rolling load shedding.

Although the SAPP grid power supply chain was affected by drought, unlike Zambia and Zimbabwe, South Africa’s power supply chain was not as much affected and its people had never witnessed acute power cuts like they did this week.

Eskom this week cut 2000 megawatts from the grid, resulting in massive power cuts in South Africa.

However, countries like Mozambique, Angola and a few others in Southern Africa are not affected by power supply shortages since they have managed to establish other power generating schemes.

 

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