By Alois Vinga
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) says at least three of the power utility’s transformers were being stolen every night.
This, according to ZESA public relations manager Fullard Gwasira, was contributing to erratic energy supplies in the country coupled with losses running in millions of dollars.
Speaking to NewZim business on Sunday, Gwasira said the failure to clampdown on thieves and vandals was draining income which could be channeled towards the nation’s electricity infrastructure.
“Our records confirm that as of August 2018, vandalism had cost the power authority a total of $4.5 million and measured daily, at least three transformers are stolen every night hence it is time such thefts are declared a national disaster because they continue to derail huge investments made to avail electricity in the country,” he said.
As a result, Gwasira said, the country needed to replace a total of 4 000 transformers lost and damaged due to vandalism.
Gwasira disputed claims some corrupt ZESA employees connived with thieves to pillage the parastatal’s assets.
“We do not have evidence that ZESA employees are involved and these allegations just come without the required accompanying evidence,” he said.
“The power authority has an internal code of conduct which speaks against such issues.
“Those levelling the allegations must recall that knowledge of electricity is not limited to ZESA alone as there are a lot of companies which have retrenched qualified technicians and engineers.”
The power authority has since issued a statement urging the public to brace for increased power cuts due to the effects of vandalism.
“ZETDC is pursuing various strategies that include patrols special operations in liaison with other security agents and awareness campaigns to contain the menace from further damaging and interference with electricity networks,” said the statement.