Zesa exports excess power at night

Dr Mbiriri

Dr Mbiriri

Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
ZIMBABWE is exporting electricity generated during off-peak periods, particularly after 9pm to neighbouring countries at a time when it ironically imports power to offset deficit during the day.
Although Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) argues that there will be no demand at night, the firm still fails to supply enough power locally since some areas including high-density suburbs and the farming communities at times experience power outages.

Zimbabwe has a power deficit of about 800MW during peak periods, but the power company produces surplus electricity during the night, which is sometimes sold to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Namibia.

Demand often outstrips supply during the day, while excess power is generated during the night as industrial and domestic demand is depressed.
The majority of Zimbabwe’s industries are no longer operating 24 hours, resulting in excess power being sold at night.

Energy and Power Development permanent secretary Dr Partson Mbiriri recently said the country was generating some revenue from exporting the power at night.
He, however, refused to disclose the amount being realised.

He appealed to Government departments, industrial and domestic users of electricity to shut down machines, lights and other electrical gadgets, saying Government would push strongly the “Switch off Switches” campaign.

“If we were to switch off switches particularly at night, even as we speak, we export power at night to neighbouring countries and of course receive some revenue for it. We export power at night. If we switch off at night we will be able to export more,” he said.

The country is currently unable to generate enough power to meet demand, which peaks at around 2 200MW against generation capacity of around 1 400MW.
Mr Mbiriri said the country would be able to export more power at night if people switched off electrical gadgets and lights at night.

If that practice was applied during the day, he said load-shedding would be minimised.
He said circulars had been written to all ministries to enforce the SOS principle, saying most lights at Government and various other buildings were being left on during the night.

Dr Mbiriri said a raft of measures were being put in place to save power including distribution of compact fluorescent bulk lights commonly known as energy saving bulbs, which he said instead of being exchanged for free, Zesa should charge a fee.

ZETDC managing director Engineer Julian Chinembiri, justified the exports saying they were done during off peak when they would be left with excess power.
“During off peak hours when households would have switched off most of their electrical appliances, we remain with excess power. It is more prudent for us to export than to switch off generators during the time when we have excess electricity. There are other countries like DRC that experience critical power shortage even during off peak hours,” Eng Chinembiri said.

He said switching off generators was problematic in that it would take time for coal to heat up to optimum levels.
Zimbabwe is facing serious energy deficit and Government and Zesa Holdings are in the process of expanding Kariba South so that it produces 300 MW more and Hwange Thermal Power Station so that it produces 600 MW.

This will see Zimbabwe producing about 2500 MW against a peak demand of 2200 MW.

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  • Ndareva

    The story about expansion has been told over and over again. I just pray that this time we actually see some progress. Hungaite hupenyu here hwekuti tinenge tichingochema chete?

    • Gonzo Ndishefu

      Ndareva uri chituta chemunhu,this is a process and you are not going to see results overnight.Work is already in progress.The selling of excess electricity is meant to fund for those upgrades without your rates going up.You are always good at complaining,you complain about the state of our roads,minister Mpofu has raised tollgates fees so we can have the money to improve the roads,then you complain again.Zivai zvamunoda mhani zvivanhu zveMDC kwete kungoita gunda musaira rinenge hwiza dzinongoteera Chematama, nepachananga musango.

      • Ralph

        zveMDC neChematama zvabvepizve? Cant you just argue your facts usingatuki vamwe for no reason nhaiwe? Chero nhuta nehwiza dzawareva zviri far better co-ordinated kupfuura zvawaratidza apa.

      • Musimwa81

        Zesa should just tell the truth. They export power so that they have forex to fund essential services. Its not excess power they are selling, coz Zimbabwe has no excess power, be it day or night.

        • Zimbabwe United

          You have failed to understand the science of electricity generation. Talk to some engineers in the field for self-edification.

      • John Chimindo

        Gonzo wakakwana here? Your response has nothing to do with Ndareva’s comment. Nechaunomutukira?

    • Gonzo Ndishefu

      I take it back. You were right. Sometimes I get carried away and fail to reason

      • grecko

        Good for you man, you are the first to make that humble come back and apologise on this platform, nice of you i shld add. Let’s minimise hate/hurt speech :)

      • mbeva

        Thumbs up for you many fail to do what you have done. Dai taidai taigarisana chose.

  • Tafiraushe

    May be we need to start using electricity for domestic purposes during the day and industrial at night,that way there will be enough electricity for resident during the day and enough for our manufacturing companies at night. You can,t talk of excess when companies are being forced to shorten their production time?

    • brystone

      there will be other things to consider for the industrial guys….wages for instance…it may not be necessarily feasible for the industrialist to operate at night. it seems profitable for ZETDC to do so anyway.

  • Pitambas

    Why not invest in Grid Energy Storage and distribute supply according to demand?

    • Engineer

      My Friend you cannot store electricity , go read yo books electricity cannot be stored …u funny ……………kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

      • Dzvai

        Mr Engineer, this could be an opportunity for you to research and come up with a way to store electricity

      • Real Engineer

        ENGENEER!!! Baba Pitambas is correct there is electricity storage technology out there check pumped-storage hydroelectricity (PSH) which is a form of grid energy storage I’m involved with that and we store close to 5 megawatts on our grid. Engineer you need to get your self exposed to what’s happening outside of books and Zimbabwe coz they are both outdated

  • Takunda

    At least with the proposed 300MW Solar Power stations, if ever built, the question of exporting excess power at night from them will never arise.

  • Piringondo

    Whatever the points and arguements…..ZESA is not doing anything to send messeges to the public on the need to switch off switches. A consistant and persistant public awareness campain can do wonders.

  • succuba

    So every country surrounding Zimbabwe has industry working 24 hours per day.

    Is this not a sad indictment that we cannot compete with them any more.

  • Jairos Shumba

    This has always been and is a standing arrangement for the Southern African Power Pool involving Zim,RSA,Nam,DRC etc. Each country exports any excess that it produces and not necessarily always at night . If we expand our grid and but continue with our shabeen like economic policies we will actually be exporting ,ore during the day as our indutries will have completely collapsed

  • Hurungudo

    Its a lie that Zimbabwe has a power deficit. I have said it over and over again in other fora. With industries like ZISCO, Zimbabwe Alloys, Makwiro Platinum Refineries not in operation and Sable Chemicals and Zimphos operating at less than 20% capacity, tie that into other smelters that are no longer functioning, Kadoma Glass, ZimGlass and then include all the small industries through out the entire country that use power but are no longer functioning, Zimbabwe should have more than enough capacity to supply power every hour on the hour with enough to export too. At present Zimbabwe requires only 600MW to supply the entire country power needs every minute of the day. Someone is lying.

  • MemaZimbo

    Prophets of doom. Why do you always speak negatively about your country. If there is any other better country than Zimbabwe why don’t you go and stay there. We can’t be a critical people who always find reason to complain in everything. Some of you guys sounds as if you can do better than all other people are doing. Even your own mistakes you tend to blame the others. Lets be a constructive generation and learn to speak positive things about our country. Zesa is operating under a very difficult economic environment and we should be grateful that they are still able to give us a service. Zim. problems are there for us all to solve not critizise.

    • INTJ

      Ever heard of constructive criticism?
      Do not be like certain people who believe that that they know everything and cannot be criticized.
      At any rate you did not offer a solution. Could you do so now and not criticize the criticizers?

  • Mangwende we Chinhoyi

    “He said switching off generators was problematic in that it would take time for coal to heat up to optimum levels”. I technically understand what is being said and it is true. However, I think it is also important to allocate a portion of the export quota to some critical industries and to some wheat farmers so that while we benefit from the export, we will also activating our manufacturing capacity. Industries have to be active so that we can export more than electricity. We cannot be found importing wheat if our priorities are focused.

  • Ndere

    Veduwe tinzireiwo , Munga exporte magetsi manheru isu kumba kwedu kusina , ahhh zesa yakamboita excess power rini.

  • medesta

    Gonzo ndishefu ndiwe chituta do you think the revenue raised by ZESA selling electricity at night is more what can be realized by companies which are closing as a result of lack of electricity. Iwe ndiwe uri kutevera Chidhara chakanga mudondo kare.

  • Tendekayi Machivenyika

    Why dont we just shut down and export all the electricity that is being generated? Doesnt it stand to reason that some of the companies which are closing at night are failing to get enough electricity, even at that time? A survey should have been done to see how many industries can open at night and utilise the electricity being exported before exporting it. I think there are a lot of companies which need that electricity and they could benefit from the survey. It would look like ready cash took precedence here over supply to needy companies.

    • Zimbabwe United

      In particular that we export the power at sick rates compared to the price we pay for day time imports. So yes you have a point, better we benefit our local industry with low tariffs at night and even encourage those who can, to run production at night under lower electricity tariffs.

  • Ivhu kuvanhu.

    How interesting to read when Load shedding has just started here now, only to get Electricity again, at 2200hrs..and how do we implement Zim Asset.

    Zesa, please calculate, this country’s boost in production(and taxes, employment created, more money circulating in the economy) and citizens being happy, is much more than you earn from selling power into the SADC region..

  • Mangwende we Chinhoyi

    “He said switching off generators was problematic in that it would take time for coal to heat up to optimum levels.” I technically agree with him and that is very true. What is only required is that part of this export energy quota should be used to supply some critical industries and wheat irrigation farmers so that the production level can go up resulting in an improvement in our national export quota. Electrical energy is fundamental to all types of industries.

    • Zimbabwe United

      Yes. Irrigation can take place at night. In fact the rates at which we sell power at night is a small fraction of what we pay when we import during ths day. At night the demand abroad is low hence it is the buyer’s market price wise.

  • Zimbabwe United

    The Permanent Secretary is failing to tell the ordinary citizens who are non-experts in electricity generation science that electricity produced at night cannot be saved for use on the next day. Electricity is a perishabld commudity that has to be consumed simultaneously as it is being generated. So the only saving that can be done by not generating power at night, is on the coal front for coal fired power stations. That saving as the Permanent Secretary implies, would be cancelled off by ths loss time wise, in reheating the coal to appropriate temperature on the following day.

  • jack

    Doesnt make sense, when the countries in darkness.