EDITOR — The announcement by the power utility Zesa Holdings (Zesa) that locals should brace for more load-shedding following an increase in the demand for electricity is sad news indeed.
How much more of load-shedding can locals take when already in most areas people only have electricity two days a week?
This week in the media a Zesa spokesperson was quoted saying “Load-shedding has increased outside the published schedule due to a huge rise in demand in excess of 1800MW against low generation. A bigger unit is expected into service during the peak period. Will provide some relief.”
While normal demand for electricity averages 1 800 megawatts (MW), Zimbabwe is experiencing constrained production capacity of around 1 000MW. Power supply has mainly been subdued owing to the low water levels in the Kariba Dam where Zimbabwe and Zambia produce hydro-electricity at Kariba Power Station.
Speaking to this publication the spokesperson said while five out of six units at Hwange Thermal Power Station are now generating power, the country is still in a shortfall position. The government needs to find solutions for some of these problems instead of letting them go on and on.
Recently, the government stated that it has paid US$10 million to South Africa’s Eskom, which was part of a combined US$83 million debt owed to Hydro Cahora Bassa of Mozambique and Eskom.
But then the Energy minister Fortune Chasi indicated that this pay-out made to Eskom does not guarantee the availability of electricity in Zimbabwe, as both parties are still to negotiate on the way forward.
For most Zimbabweans, there is no electricity for more than half the day and electricity is switched off before people even wake up and only to come back when they are sleeping. What kind of service provision is this that most of the time people are not even able to make use of the service that they have paid for in advance.
The situation is even worse in urban areas as people have been forced to use firewood and other energy sources whose prices are beyond the reach of many. Apart from affecting residential areas the power cuts have affected the industries that are forced to close because of power shortages
This is just too much even for the peace-loving citizens of this country.
Government has to solve this as a matter of urgency.