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ZESA pays Mozambique US$7m/mth for power
18/10/2013 00:00:00
by Gilbert Nyambabvu
 
Power supply challenge ... James Maridadi
 
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ZESA is paying Mozambique about US$7 million for electricity every month even as the country continues to suffer endless power supply interruptions.

Zimbabwe does not generate enough electricity to meet its needs forcing ZESA to ration supplies to both domestic and commercial users.

Efforts to bridge the gap in local generation with imports from the region have also been undermined by the utility’s perilous financial situation.

MDC-T legislator, James Maridadi, a former ZESA employee has called for a Parliamentary inquiry into the power supply problems which are holding back the country’s economic recovery.

“The growth of an economy is dependent on the availability of electricity,” Maridadi said as he moved a motion to set up the inquiry.

“The fact that electricity is an economic enabler cannot be denied. The beauty with this subject before us, Mr. Speaker, is that it is colour blind and it transcends political barriers without respect”

“When there is no electricity in Mabvuku and Tafara, where I come from, everyone in the constituency is in darkness regardless of their colour, religious persuasion or political affiliation.”

Maridadi said ZESA as only managing to produce about ZESA 1000 MW of electricity per day against a national demand that is about double that output.

“The difference is imported from the region and mostly from Hydro Cabora Bassa (HCB) in Mozambique at an average cost of US$6.5 million a month.

“I should hasten to add that, only 50 MW are confirmed each day and the remainder of up to 350MW is sold subject to availability at HBC.

“The above unfortunate scenario means Zimbabwe is a net electricity importer and one of the biggest such per capita power importers on the continent.

“Our country’s manufacturing sector is operating at about 35 percent capacity and fast declining and yet we do not have adequate power for such small demand.”

The legislator also blamed poor planning for the country’s power supply crisis.

“What has happened in most of the past 33 years since independence is that, new consumers are simply connected to the existing network,” he said.

“A typical example is the sprawling dormitory town of Chitungwiza. All the additional residential and industrial consumers since 1985 are simply lumped onto the existing network. This results in network overload and obvious breakdowns.”



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