A lot of confused Zimbabweans have been fuming and cursing ZESA. One burning question that most people have been asking is why Zimbabwe producing a mere 500 MW of power when Hwange’s new Unit 7 was set to add 600MW of power to the grid. Well, that is because while the new power plant at Hwange will certainly produce that much power, it is not yet connected. In simple terms, Unit 7 is simply not complete. According to the officials from ZESA, the unit is now going through the commission process. In other words Unit 7 is not yet complete and it is not connected to the ZETDC grid so that it can supply power.

The only reason why we were made to think this is because of political deception on the part of a couple of ignorant politicians. With elections looming, Zimbabwe’s government officials are desperate to create the impression that the government deserves another extension. To that end, someone deliberately cooked up a story about how the government was awesome and going to solve our power crises as Hwange’s unit 7 was now complete. According to Engineers and officials at ZESA, while the Unit itself is complete and generating power, the project is far from complete.

What is left to be done?

  • Lots of steps have to be carried and each one is audited by a series of tests, if a test failed, the cause of the failure has to be investigated and rectified before they proceed.
  • A 400KM power line will be constructed from Hwange to Bulawayo. It is not even clear whether this has been completed or even if construction has begun. The way officials are speaking it seems this line is yet to be build. If that is the case, this is another masterclass in project management incompetence by ZESA. Building the line is an independent even that could have been carried out in parallel with the construction of the new Unit.
  • Engineers from China will have to inspect the whole thing and oversee various projects. China’s notorious zero-COVID cases policy has been making this impossible.

Will Hwange solve our woes?

At best Hwange’s new Unit will just make our lives less miserable. After the new Unit comes online, ZPC will almost certainly take the current Units at Hwange down which means overall there is going to be little change. ZPC will be upgrading and refurbishing the old outdated units that are currently online. God alone knows how long that will take, we will be lucky if it happens in our lifetime.

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