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The real reason severe load shedding ended in Zimbabwe

Wondering who to thank for severe load shedding ending in Zimbabwe? A report on Bloomberg this week might answer that question. According to the publication, demand for electricity in South Africa “has fundamentally collapsed” over the past 6 months, which has kept power supply consistent in South Africa and enabled Eskom to export power to Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The reduced demand in SA has been caused by the decline in commodity prices which has reduced manufacturing activity in the country. If this situation changes, that is if power demand increases again in South Africa, they could possibly be no sufficient power to export to its neighbours.

Eskom has agreed to sell power to Zambia and Zimbabwe, both of which suffer electricity shortages. They are discretionary deals that can be downsized if South Africa’s grid becomes constrained.” says the report.

The information is in line with statements by a Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority representative, Learnmore Nechitoro, at a Harare event recently when he said the power shortage problem in Zimbabwe. The only difference in recent years, he said, is that where in the past Zimbabwe could easily import power from its neighbours, high demand in the whole region means there’s not enough power to import. Reduced demand in South Africa would therefore mean there’s surplus power for SA to export.

Zimbabwe’s contribution to ending load shedding

While the availability of surplus power to import has been a good thing for Zimbabwe, the fact is Zimbabwe’s own power demand has also reduced. Zimbabwe’s manufacturing has reduced significantly, with large power consuming companies like Sable Chemicals shutting down. Sable alone was using about 40MW of power. Most of the country’s manufacturers have either shut down completely or stopped manufacturing (preferring to import and just brand the products) after failing to compete with imports.

Load shedding and Power generation stats (16 March 2016) Source:
Load shedding and Power generation stats (16 March 2016)

Where in September last year, the whole country was under severe load shedding because ZESA could only provide 984 megawatts against a claimed demand of 2,000MW, Zimbabwe has managed to end its load shedding completely with a total 1,293 MW being supplied. Essentially, the difference, some 700MW of power, is no longer needed.

While load shedding is painful and negatively impacts any business, it appears load shedding ended not because a brilliant solution was found, but that the country’s economy and that of the wider region, is worse off due to reduced manufacturing.

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14 thoughts on “The real reason severe load shedding ended in Zimbabwe

  1. Give credit were it’s due. The government caused the load shedding to end.
    1. They figured out the if 90% of Bulawayo industry close and upto 100% in smaller towns also close with a large chunk of harare industry closing, then supply would equal demand

    2. The boy Minister Zhuwau refusing FDI. He wants FDI to be made in other countries so that they have the burden of providing electricity and us the the joy of importing stuff already made. Just enjoying imports with our lights on.

    Zimbabweans are simple people, they need Zesa and all is good.

    1. Nice one. On a smaller scale, Zesa now too expensive i sell my stove and Tv and bulbs.The reason behind me paying less for elctricity.

    2. lol so we should commend the government for running down 90% of the industry in bulawayo that was providing critically needed jobs . mamwe mafungiro anopedza simba

  2. how sarcastic of you sir. thats a well thot out article, it serves to correct the bluff we heard on monday from a gvt minister who said they were used diesel generators to back up zesa grid. that minister really didnt do his homework. it would be so expensive to run the country on diesel generators.

    1. kkkk Can someone please tell me what happened to those guys. Did they close, are they still running, do they have a research lab, are they selling anything… I never got or rather a lot of people never got a formal closure on that matter and still believe technological blue can come from the spirit realm

  3. Has Zesa demand really dropped to 1300 MW has Zesa confirmed that? If so we are in deeper trouble than we imagined as that drop is a real indicator of economic growth, which is clearly v negative.

  4. The move by ZERA and other stakeholders concerned is welcome though the suffering had caused much damage than could be amended. If we have many dams like Tokwe-Mkosi, Manyuchi in Mwenezi, among others, why can’t we draw HEP from the

  5. As logical fallacies go,saying there is no more load shedding in a country where >60% has no magetsi, really takes the prize biscuit!

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