Industry agreed to staggered use of power, says government

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THE government did not force industry to reduce power usage but came to the decision by consensus, a senior state official has said.
Energy and Power Development permanent secretary Patson Mbiriri said media is twisting facts by accusing government of making an arbitrary decision.
He was speaking at a Rural Electrification Agency (REA) project consultative meeting in Chikomba last Thursday.
“It was not an arbitrary central switching off; industry decides on sections to switch of and that is why they have not been an outcry. We are following all the rules,” Mbiriri said.
“The voltage demanded by mines and industries is high as compared to rural areas consumption.
“So we requested that they reduce electricity by 25 percent. It was in consensus with the Industry and mines.”
As Zimbabwe groans under a debilitating economic crisis, the situation has been exacerbated by a worsening power crisis that has forced government into extra-ordinary measurer including switching off military barracks at night.
President Robert Mugabe last week urged industry to “consider operating at night” as a way of circumventing the energy crisis.
Mbiriri said there was need to develop decentralized energy systems based on renewable energy sources especially in the rural areas.
“The REA fund has electrified 82,822 rural institutions countrywide using booth grid and solar technologies,” he said.
“Despite the commendable progress, REA has not been spared from the economic and other challenges faced. The other challenge is the inadequate funding for the program.
“The six percent electrification levy that REA gets through electricity sales and fiscal allocation by government is not adequate to accelerate the program or to sustain the momentum already gained by the program.”Advertisement