Regional power shortages form of punishment for violating nature – Chasi

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent

VICTORIA Falls: Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi Wednesday told energy regulators from the region that power challenges faced by SADC countries were a form of punishment by nature for defiling the environment.

Chasi was guest speaker at the Regional Electricity Regulators Association of Southern Africa (Rera) conference in the resort town.

The Zimbabwe government minister said the whole Sadc region needed to put heads together to come up with a permanent solution to power challenges.

“We all have to understand the magnitude of this calamitous energy situation. We are facing punishment for what we have done to the environment.

“In the Bible, it is said God said let there be light, and there was light, yet we don’t have the light here,” said Chasi.

He said the region has to be thankful to South Africa and Mozambique which export electricity to their troubled neighbours.

“Our situation is critical. It is now time that we change our attitude and mindset and take cleaner energies such as solar. We need to come together as a region and put together a raft of measures for energy,” he said.

Chasi said only 42 percent of the region’s population has access to electricity.

He said the region needed to deliberately address issues of availability of power in the remotest areas.

“We need to know exactly where we come from because climate has conspired against us. We had Cyclone Idai whose effects we are still dealing with, Kariba not getting reasonable inflows while Hwange for the first time had serious floods that flooded the power station. This is a sign that we all have a role to play to preserve the environment,” he added.

The power shortages in the region have been attributed to effects of climate change as hydro generation is reduced due to low rainfall while thermal power stations are also dilapidated.

The Rera annual conference started on Monday and end on Friday with an annual general meeting.

It is being attended by regulators and partners from the Sadc region and was held under the theme: “Creating a conducive environment to enhance regional energy security, trade and investment.”