Power crisis exposes govt

HARARE - Zimbabwe's intermittent power cuts — blamed on low water levels and maintenance work at Kariba — sum up the sad state of affairs currently obtaining in the country.

And the blame lies with authorities who have allowed the situation to degenerate into a catastrophe as black outs being experienced throughout the country, are causing anguish and economic losses of huge proportions.

While the two power stations at Hwange, a coal-fired station and Kariba hydro plant in the north, undergo maintenance, their joint capacity does not even meet 80 percent of Zimbabwe’s power needs.

Hwange will undergo maintenance until October 7, while Kariba would see its maintenance stretch to January 28.

Upon his re-election in July 2013, President Robert Mugabe made a solemn promise that his priority would be to tackle the decades-long electricity problem and ensure that Zimbabweans enjoyed steady power supply.

The president reasoned that the erratic nature of Zimbabwe’s power supply cannot guarantee any meaningful industrial development and can also scuttle his ambitious economic blueprint, ZimAsset.

Zimbabwe needs to pursue a detailed power sector roadmap as part of the reform process, instead of embarking on knee-jerk responses such as banning geysers.

It is really surprising that the water levels in the Zambezi, which have been cited as contributing to the low power generation in Kariba, have also affected Zambia which says it will be exporting power after eight months.

Then, it is illogical for the authorities to continue harping about low water levels being the reason why we have no power, yet Zambia expects to export theirs despite us having the same problem.

We would expect government to do all it can to save the haemorrhaging economy from sinking into further problems, by installing measures that improve power generation, including consummating a $400 million deal with Africa’s richest man, Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, who is looking to invest in coal and power generation in Zimbabwe.

Government needs to set about this task with vigour as the power sector stutters. The power situation has been characterised by cyclic despair.

The current power crisis has exposed Zesa and indeed the government of Zimbabwe as the authors of their own criticisms, which are justified in the current circumstances.

Ironically, power technocrats are never short of excuses for the unending power crisis, which perhaps explains the drive against the Energy minister Samuel Undenge, as reported elsewhere in this edition.

After all, a fish rots from the head.

Comments (2)

The solution to the power crisis would be to have massive solar projects covering fields and some government buildings should be fitted with huge solar panels to avert further crisis. Then the long term solution would be to build more power stations every ten years.

medion kasvatutsa - 29 September 2015

Yes one would have thought that one of the short term intervention would be solar. Nobody mentions that. A solar project was reported months back to be taking shape around Marondera. There has not been feedbacks. The blame partly lies with our scribes. They should follow up officials for feedback to the point they become nuisances. Instead our scribes worry more on juicy stories instead of developmental ones.

D.N.Munonyara. - 29 September 2015

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