Stakeholders applaud efforts to plug loadshedding 

Source: Stakeholders applaud efforts to plug loadshedding | The Herald

Stakeholders applaud efforts to plug loadshedding
Bikita Minerals says it will construct a 110km, 132-kilovolt power line to boost supply to the mine

Mukudzei Chingwere

Herald Reporter

BUSINESSES and household consumers want Zesa and its distribution subsidiary, ZEDTC, to continue pushing efforts in the short-term, medium-term and long-term to ameliorate power shortages.

The power shortages are largely driven by the economic growth and rising demand in Zimbabwe following the deliberate strategies by the Second Republic to grow the economy. 

While two large units will be commissioned late this year and early next year at Hwange Thermal, extra power is needed now and quite soon new stations will be required.

ZETDC has opened discussions with power companies in Zambia and Mozambique to boost imports in the short term.

The longer term solutions, the new power stations, include, but not limited to the Batoka Gorge hydropower station, a 2,4GW run-of-the river hydroelectric system on the Zambezi River whose output will be shared by Zimbabwe and Zambia.

In separate interviews, businesses said the nature of their operations will not allow them to have long hours of power outages and welcomed the temporary relief measures.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers Association president Mr Denford Mutashu commended efforts to ameliorate power outages. 

“The nature of the retail business requires constant electricity supply, and without that we run the risk of losses especially those selling perishable foods.

“Even those who are not in fast-moving consumer goods need electricity for the day-to-day running of their businesses, you can imagine that even things like receipting require electricity.

“What makes us happier is the fact that they are also working on long-term projects where we will be in a position to generate our own electricity so that we do not rely on imports,” said Mr Mutashu.

Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe corporate affairs manager Mr Andrew Kunambura was happy that a short-term measure is coming, and noted that generators are not sustainable for heavy users. 

“By nature of the technology we use as millers, we are heavy consumers of electricity and we cannot substitute grid supply with generators. Even if we manage to, it will be very expensive and unsustainable.

“So we are being severely affected by the ongoing power cuts and to make matters worse, it comes at a time when we must optimise production so that the supply of flour and mealie meal is improved,” Mr Kunambura.

Even households want uninterrupted power supply and will accept rising tariffs if that means constant supply is restored.

A Harare resident, Ms Ropafadzai Zhou, welcomed the efforts to import more electricity as a temporary relief measure. 

“These days we are having long hours of power cuts which makes the cost of living expensive even for domestic use considering that we need to buy gas for cooking. What we suggest is even to have increased tariffs to enable more imports as a temporary measure while we are waiting for the completion of our own capacities, like the works at Hwange.

“I feel it is cheaper to pay more for electricity than to have load shedding. Those who want to pay less will also use less,” said Ms Zhou.

Mrs Faith Muzadzi said she was appealing for improved supply. “We are being heavily-affected by load shedding, and we are happy they are procuring more power to ensure the power cuts become a thing of the past.