Load shedding in Zimbabwe as economic woes increase

The power producer blamed the electricity deficit on low water levels at the Kariba hydro-power station
Zimbabwe's inflation rate climbs to 175%

Zimbabwe on Monday introduced electricity power cuts for several hours a day as low water levels at its hydro-power station and ageing equipment deepened the country’s economic struggles.

Load-shedding will be imposed between 5 and 10 am and between 5 and 10 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 hydro-power station, generation constraints due to ageing equipment at the Hwange thermal power station and limited imports.

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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.

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

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