Harare residents yesterday said heads must roll at Zesa after the beleaguered parastatal released a load-shedding schedule that will see most households going without electricity for 18 hours a day.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
Zesa blamed the rolling blackouts on low water levels at Kariba Dam, which have affected electricity generation and breakdowns at Hwange Power Station.
Thomas Dutiro of Sunningdale said the increased load-shedding was due to mismanagement at Zesa.
“Certain people at Zesa are busy making their pockets fat, ignoring [the fact] that some machines in Hwange and Kariba need maintenance. As long as they do not reduce their wage bills to channel funds towards working to reduce load-shedding, Zimbabwe is going to be in total darkness,” said Dutiro.
Luke Ndabatei of Glen Norah said Zesa’s monopoly was to blame for the crisis.
“Our biggest problem has been lack of planning on the part of authorities, while those sitting at offices claiming to be managers at Zesa do nothing other than take fat pay cheques home every month,” he said.
“Rather than take us through this excruciating pain, government should allow private players to tap into our abundant sunshine to provide solar energy.”
Jacob Kamutsenzere of Hatfield blamed the government, saying officials slept on the job.
“Zimbabwe is in a total mess. This is a crisis that reflects the situation in every other sector in the country,” he said.
“The challenge is that our leadership lacks focus and they concentrate on the wrong issues altogether. Zimbabwe has abundant sunshine and solar panels were invented ages ago. There are several solar panel manufacturing companies in the world, half of which would jump at a chance to invest in Zimbabwe, but we have fickle policy implementation.”
Since 2007, the country has been experiencing increased load-shedding and unscheduled power supply disruptions countrywide, resulting in many Zimbabweans spending hours in the dark.
According to the latest load-shedding schedule, most residential areas will go from 4am to 10pm without power.
The situation has forced many residents to use other energy sources such as LP gas, wood and solar, while others use generators.
A statement released by Zesa’s subsidiary — the Zimbabwe Power Company — on its website last week showed that Hwange was generating 414MW, Kariba 500MW, Harare Power Station 30MW, Munyati 22MW and Bulawayo 18MW, translating to a mere 984MW for the whole country.
Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said the ongoing electricity crisis can only improve if there were enough rains to raise the water levels at the Kariba Dam.
Gwasira said the power utility was waiting for the rainy season for improved water inflows and that would probably transform the current power situation.
“The generation capacity drop of about 125 megawatts, which is equivalent to one quarter of Harare, has affected the supply of electricity in the country and the improvement can only come if we are generating in Kariba, which is our main anchor,” Gwasira said.
“Although we are experiencing system challenges in Hwange, it is the dropping of water levels at Kariba Dam that has contributed to the excessive load-shedding being experienced in the country as a result of high demand for electricity.”
Low water levels at Kariba Dam have also affected electricity generation in neighbouring Zambia as the countries share power from the same source.