PANICKY industrialists have sent an SOS to government, imploring the highest authority in the land to protect their struggling businesses from further strain caused by the current wave power cuts.
This was confirmed by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) in a terse website publication this weekend.
The business group admitted it was feeling the heat from increased power outages and was engaged in talks with both ZESA and the energy ministry to lessen the impact on their firms.
“CZI ups engagements as power situation worsen,” said CZI.
“With the electricity supply situation getting worse, CZI is engaging ZESA and the Ministry of Energy and Power Development to find ways of mitigating the situation to industry.”
Zimbabweans have in the past few days endured up to 17 hours of load shedding daily amid a steep decline in the country’s power generating capacity.
Power utility Zesa has blamed this on diminishing water levels in Kariba and a mandatory maintenance operation on units at Hwange Power station scheduled to go on up October 7.
But amid complaints from the general electricity users, industrialists have also raised their own red flag seeking special concessions, something they pin on their strategic importance to the country’s economic stability.
“Some members, mostly those who do not have dedicated transmission lines to be on the ring fenced tariff have indicated that the load shedding was about to reach unsustainable levels,” said CZI.
“The electricity supply, which was already in short supply, has worsened even more following the reduction in generation at Kariba Hydro Power Station owing to the low dam level.
“CZI has joined with other industry players and interested parties to come up with proposals to mitigate the supply situation which they hope the authorities would seriously consider.”
However, the power utility has baulked, assuring the anxious producers it would restrict load shedding to households.
CZI confirmed: “ZESA has also said that it would make every effort to limit the impact of the increased electricity shortages by increasing load shedding to residential places so that the available power can be used in industry.
“They have also said that they would not load shed those companies that are on ring fenced tariff.”Advertisement
Meanwhile, in a separate interview with NewZimbabwe.com, CZI president, Busisa Moyo, urged the power utility to try and curb electricity leakages which he said were puzzling.
“We are currently appealing to the ministry of energy to investigate recurrent leakages in electricity; we do not understand how power remains so much in short supply when the usage has decreased in the past due to the closure of companies,” Moyo said.
“We strongly believe there are inefficiencies within Zesa itself. The power being generated in Kariba and Hwange is a lot that is why it is important to talk to the authorities to see how transmission losses can be plugged.”