The country’s ageing coal-fired generators were shuttered or running at reduced capacity.
Power cuts would hit the mining sector, which contributes more than two-thirds of Zimbabwe’s export earnings, adding to difficulties in a country already battling with a lack of foreign exchange, soaring prices and shortages of fuel, food and medicine.
Zimbabwe experienced its worst power shortages in 2016 following a devastating drought. This week, it was producing only 915MW against a peak demand of 2100MW.
Kariba Power Station, which is already operating at half-capacity, will further reduce generation from 542MW to 358MW, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) said as the drought reduced water levels at the dam which feeds the plant.
As Zimbabwe enters its peak winter power demand season, the ZETDC told companies and private households to reduce electricity consumption, especially during periods of high demand.
“In the event that the supply and demand equilibrium is not maintained, the power utility would have no choice but to curtail some loads to restore grid stability,” it said.
Some residents in the capital, Harare, reported that they had already had power cuts, in the form of load shedding, since the beginning of this week.
The utility said generation at Hwange, its biggest coal-fired station, as well as three smaller plants, remained fragile due to the age of the facilities.
Kariba has a generating capacity of 1050MW since another 300MW was added in 2017. ReutersReuters