Chinese transformers not durable: Zent

HARARE - Transformers imported from China were yesterday described by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority Enterprises (Zent) as of poor quality and irreparable.

Loveness Kunaka, Zent divisional manager manufacturing, told Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire that Zent were getting a raw deal from the Chinese.

“Some of the products from China are unrepairable (sic),” Kunaka told Mavhaire during a tour of Zent premises. 

“There are some transformers that were imported through the ministry of Agriculture and installed at farms. Most of them were of poor quality and some have already come to us for repairs but we cannot repair them.”

She said the expected life-span of a transformer is 25 years, but the Chinese transformers are breaking down much earlier.

Mavhaire had asked whether the company was getting raw material for transformers from China, which the minister described as Zimbabwe’s “all weather friend”.

The Energy minister was touring Zent’s transformer manufacturing plant where some of the transformers are exported.

Zent said it was getting raw material from PME Power Solutions of India not China.

The company has around 4 000 transformers waiting to be repaired, which had blown up as a result of vandalism and lightning. Zesa last year lost $6 million worth of transformers to vandalism, particularly the illegal draining of oil, and from lightning strikes.

“We have the capacity to turn them into something workable but we are waiting for raw material,” Kunaka said, adding that they had already picked out 645 transformers for repairs from the lot.

Mavhaire advised the company to also contract the Chinese to make sure the transformers are quickly repaired.

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