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Hwange thermal expansion at 82% completion

By Allan Mbotshwa

ZIMBABWE Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) said its expansion of Hwange thermal power stations 7 and 8 is now at 82% completion with progress being halted by the COVID- 19 pandemic, which has ravaged the whole globe.

Speaking at the ZESA Risk Management 2021 Awards, ZESA Holdings deputy chairperson, Tsitsi Makovah who spoke on behalf of executive director, Dr Sydney Gata said it was the parastatal’s desire to become self-sufficient and narrow the power demand-supply gap, minimise imports and conserve foreign currency in the process.

“Progress at Hwange 7 and 8 thermal power project is now at 82% complete, although delays in procurement of imported material due to Covid-19 induced restrictions affected some of the targeted works,” said Dr Gata.

The completion of the project will add an additional 600 Mega Watts to the National Power Grid which will go a long way in contributing to the national economic recovery projected in Vision 2030 by the Government.

“The completion of the Hwange Expansion Project will also help to release the plant for scheduled maintenance for all the units at the various power stations, thereby reducing the risk of plant failure; the risk of plant failure can also be reduced by investing in technology to do condition monitoring of equipment which will help in the monitoring, identification, and prediction of failures before they occur,” added Dr Gata.

However, despite making considerable headway in the expansion project, ZESA is still plagued by vandalism and theft which in turn exposes humans, property and livestock to the risk of electrical accidents.

These losses slow down the rate of infrastructural developments as funds that are meant for network expansion are then channelled towards the replacement of stolen and vandalised equipment.

“In order to mitigate the risk of theft and vandalism, Loss Control is working with other stakeholders and law enforcement agents. Even though this is the case, there is need to explore technology and ride on such technological interventions to curb with speed the problem of theft and vandalism,” he said.

ZESA embarked on a number of initiatives to improve the efficiency of the company. These include, but are not limited to re-bundling, re-tooling, and resourcing, grid refurbishment, training and development, redeployment of senior members of staff and increased visibility of stakeholder relations on social media platforms.

In order to avoid the information risk and disseminate correct information to the public, the presence of stakeholder relations on various social media platforms.

“In addition to this, the department is also carrying out stakeholders’ engagements with various groups to try and correct any negative publicity and take up constructive criticism to ensure an improvement in service delivery,” said Dr Gata.

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