Zimbabwe-China power deal delayed, as power cuts loom

A signing ceremony for a major power project to boost Zimbabwe's power generation was postponed on Friday as the country braced for more power cuts due to maintenance works at its main generator.

Zimbabwe Power Corporation said the penning of a $1.1 billion deal with China's Sinohydro had been "rescheduled to a later date" without giving reasons.

On completion, the project at Hwange Power Station in northwestern Zimbabwe is expected to add 600 megawatts to the national grid.

Zimbabwe suffers frequent power shortages. This causes the power utility to resort to load-shedding, cutting supplies to some parts of the country for about eight hours.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has increased the rationing in recent weeks as it battles serious shortages, forcing some parts of the country to go without electricity for up to 18 hours.

"This has been due to a series of power system disturbances, which resulted in forced generator outages and equipment failure, particularly at Hwange Power station," the authority said in a statement.

Frequent breakdowns of Zimbabwe's ageing power stations means the country suffers perennial power-shortages.

The country produces an average of 1,200 megawatts against a peak demand of 2,200 MW and relies on imports to supplement its production.

Last month Zimbabwe launched a $533-million project with China to scale up electricity generation at one of its major power plants in a bid to ease perennial energy woes.