via Govt orders industry to cut power use by 25% – Newsday October 7, 2015
GOVERNMENT has ordered all mining companies and other big industries to reduce their electricity consumption levels by 25% with immediate effect in light of the current power shortages affecting the whole country.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Energy and Power Development minister Samuel Undenge made the announcement yesterday while presenting his ministerial statement on the energy crisis in Parliament.
The move is likely to cause a massive drop in production levels and spell a death knell to the country’s already struggling manufacturing sector.
“Noting that there are some large users of power such as Mimosa, Unki, Zimplats, Zimasco, Zim Alloys, Afrochine, and others, these are to be asked by ZETDC (Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company) to drop load by up to 25% on the basis of existing contracts,” Undenge said.
“It would be up to these large power users to decide on which areas of their operations to load-shed. This is expected to yield 25 megawatts,” he said.
Undenge said security cantonments such as the Zimbabwe National Army and Zimbabwe Republic Police would be requested to voluntarily load-shed non-critical and residential loads of their institutions so as to share the burden.
“We will undertake increased power-saving awareness campaigns for commercial offices and premises, government buildings, and schools so that they switch off switches.”
He said Sable Chemicals’ power account now stood at more than $150 million in debt, adding it was a burden that ZETDC was carrying on its own at a time when their revenues were expected to dwindle.
Undenge said other measures to ease pressure on the national power grid would include use of electricity from thermal power stations, use of gas for cooking, solar energy, the ban of incandescent bulbs and geysers, and equal load-shedding for all areas except critical ones.
Private players were also encouraged to generate their own power and feed into the Zesa grid. He said funding for repowering of power generation plants and setting up of thermal and solar projects would be provided by India Exim Bank.
“On geysers, we are going to have a programme of installing them month by month until the end of the four-year programme. We have identified ZB Bank to offer a loan scheme to consumers so that they will feel nothing on repayments. The 40% electricity bills incurred by people on geysers will go towards procurement of solar geysers,” Undenge said.
Undenge was quizzed by opposition MPs to explain why government had not introduced proactive measures when it became apparent that water levels at Kariba Dam were going down.
Mabvuku/Tafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T) said Undenge should also tell Zimbabweans the truth about the finances needed for big projects like Batoka, Hwange and Kariba power stations.
He said the Batoka project would only give the country 800 megawatts and not 2 400 megawatts as outlined by Undenge. Maridadi said it would be difficult to get power from neighbouring countries as they were also facing similar challenges.
Harare West MP Jessie Majome (MDC-T) said instead of prioritising defence technical transfers, government should be looking at prioritising energy technological transfer from China.