Cahora Bassa in Tete Province is preparing a strategic business plan for the 2017-21 five-year period which is expected to address the company’s new challenges in the context of the energy matrix and national development.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of HCB, Pedro Couto, made the announcement and pointed out that it was urgent to prioritise the maintenance, renovation and modernization of the electricity producer of more than 40 years.
Couto made this statement during celebrations of the ninth anniversary of the transfer of HCB to the Mozambican State in Songo (Tete Province), on Sunday.
Addressing those present, Couto said that, given the growing energy deficit in the country, and the market opportunities, it was also essential that the hydroelectric producer met expectations and contribute to the development of new projects for the generation and distribution of energy, particularly the Mphanda Nkuwa and STE lines.
“The success of these and other projects, which are a great challenge for the HCB, will require your usual and redoubled commitment and sense of mission, of which the Mozambican people are rightly proud. I am convinced you know how to use your knowledge and technical skills to accomplish these goals”, he said.
The HCB chairman also spoke about the hydroelectric plant’s nine-year reversion to state control, noting that there were record production, economic and financial successes during this period.
“We have no doubt that in the nine years since 27 November 2007, the balance has been positive! Today nobody has doubts that HCB is an example of success. This thanks to all of you present here and all other collaborators”, Couto said.
Pedro Couto also noted that “good results require a lot of work! It takes commitment and total dedication to the cause in which we believe, and defend”.
Cahora Bassa braces for further cuts as water hits unprecedented lows
The water level in Mozambique’s Cahora Bassa hydropower dam, the country’s main source of electricity and a key source of foreign currency, is at an unprecedented low, the company’s new chairman has warned.
Mozambique state-owned HCB reduced its generation capacity in July this year by 250MW, after the water level fell by four meters in the first half of the year. Since then, it has fallen a further 4.7 metres – leaving the reservoir just 34% full, according to the National Water Directorate’s figures from 30 November.
People living around the lake say the water level is at its lowest in living memory. Islands have formed in the lake and it is now impossible to reach Zumbo, the town on the western end of the lake, by water, Zitamar News has learned.
Data on the true water level is complicated to obtain. The National Water Directorate no longer publishes its daily Hydrological Bulletin online, and ARAZambeze – the authority responsible for the Zambezi River in Mozambique – stopped publishing data on its website in April. HCB’s own website only gives the level of the reservoir above sea level, making it difficult to evaluate the levels in the reservoir.
The latest Hydrological Bulletin reveals that the reservoir is only 34% full. The bulletin has also stopped publishing a graph of the water level in the Cahora Bassa reservoir, but older editions, hosted on the UK’s Open University website, show that the level at this time of year should be around 323-metres above sea level. In fact, its is at 312.4-metres – which would be some way off at the bottom of the chart used in 2013. A survey of the bottom of the lake had to be suspended in November due to the low water levels. The survey was conducted to see if the lake floor is now higher than before, due to a build-up of sediment – meaning the lake would contain even less water than thought.
HCB fears drop in revenues in 2017:
Pedro Couto, the former energy minister who was appointed head of HCB in September, told staff on 27 November that “the lack of rain seen in the region over the last two years … has resulted in an unprecedented reduction in [the water in] the Cahora Bassa reservoir”.
The situation, he said, “will have critical implications on our business, affecting production and, by consequence, revenues”. The HCB’s management is currently putting together the company’s strategic plan for 2017-21, Couto said, warning staff that budgets would have to be trimmed.
HCB, which supplies power to central and northern Mozambique while selling most of its output to South African utility Eskom, reduced the output of each of its five turbines by 50MW in July. Since then, it appears to have maintained that level of output – but the amount of water leaving the dam has regularly exceeded the amount going in. On 30 November, for example, the inflow rate was 1,097.6 cubic metres per second, while the outflow was1,900.2 m3/s. Another customer, Zimbabwe, is struggling to pay its bills to HCB. As a result, HCB has halved its supply to the utility, ZESA, from 100MW to 50MW.
Source: Zitamar News
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