By Anna Chibamu
POWER UTILITY, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) says its current regional remedies aimed at easing a crippling power crisis in the country will not yield immediate relief for locals who continue to endure long days of power outages.
ZESA has been engaging neighbouring power companies in Mozambique and South Africa to help supply the country with the critical resource.
Giving oral evidence before parliament’s energy committee Thursday, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) acting managing director Milton Munodawafa said only those who pay for electricity in foreign currency are exempted from the ongoing load-shedding as the power utility is currently failing to generate enough for the country.
“We need to balance the demand and supply or else we lose the grid,” he said.
“Power is available in the region where we trade with our regional partners at a reasonable price at night. That is the reason why everyone else gets power after 2200hrs to about 0400 hrs in the morning.
“When you demand power most, we do not have the right quantities. For example, we have to load-shed power of about 850 MW today (Thursday) because we do not have it available.”
Monodawafa added, “Those paying in foreign currency get all the power first. They are being exempted because they are bringing in the much needed foreign currency and load-shedding is being instituted in domestic areas.”
Zimbabwe’s power challenges intensified May this year when electricity consumers found themselves being subjected to up to 18 hours of load-shedding.
This has been caused by the failure by Hwange and Kariba to generating enough electricity owing to several challenges, among them obsolete equipment as well as low water levels at Kariba due to the drought period.
The problem has been compounded by continued vandalism and theft of ZESA equipment, shortage of foreign currency and failure by consumers to pay the US$1.2 billion debt that has been eroded by inflation.