Zimbabwe rations power as economic woes mount

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP) — Zimbabwe on Monday introduced electricity power cuts for several hours a day, as low water levels at its hydropower station and ageing equipment deepened the country's economic struggles.

Load-shedding will be imposed between 5:00 and 10:00 am and between 5:00 and 10:00 pm, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company said in a statement.

“The durations may be longer in the event of an increased power shortfall , to avoid the collapse of the national grid,” it added.

The power producer blamed the electricity deficit on low water levels at the Kariba hydropower station, generation constraints due to ageing equipment at the Hwange [thermal] Power Station, and limited imports.

Businesses warned that the rationing could worsen economic troubles as Zimbabwe experiences crippling fuel shortages.

“We will be paying for the cost of labour when there is no production,” Sifelani Jabangwe, president of Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, told AFP.

Zimbabwe's economy has been in decline for over a decade.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over from long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, has pledged to revive growth and attract foreign investment following years of international isolation.

In January the Government more than doubled fuel prices, sparking countrywide protests which left at least 17 people dead and hundreds injured, after soldiers were deployed to quell the strike.

The price hike has failed to tackle persistent fuel shortages, with queues stretching more than a kilometre long in some instances.

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