Zimbabwean firms seek dedicated power lines amid biting power crisis


HARARE — Some major companies in Zimbabwe are in talks with the state-owned power utility ZESA Holdings to secure dedicated power lines that would spare them from the crippling load shedding that has hit the country.

Image: Africa Energy Portal

Zimbabwe has been facing severe power cuts since the August general elections, as ZESA struggles to meet the electricity demand that exceeds its supply by more than 800 megawatts (MW).

The power crisis has affected the operations of many businesses, especially those in the manufacturing sector, which rely on constant power supply to run their production lines.

Delta Corporation, the country’s largest beverage producer, is one of the firms that is seeking a dedicated power line from ZESA. 

Delta CEO Matts Valela said that they are willing to pay whatever ZESA charges them, as long as they get uninterrupted power.

“Unavailable electricity is worse than expensive electricity whereby one runs generators to keep producing,” he said. 

“That way we are eating into our revenues hence we need a dedicated power supply at the rate the power utility would want us to pay.”

Valela also dismissed the option of using solar power for heavy industries, saying that it is not viable because it varies with the sun’s setting and requires big batteries to avoid power fluctuations.

“Even industrialized countries do not use solar for industrial use,” he said.

Another firm that is pushing for a dedicated power line is African Distillers (AfDIS), a leading producer of wines and spirits. AfDIS managing director Stanley Muchenje said that they have been engaging ZESA to help them repair the power lines that supply AfDIS and other companies in the area, such as Windmill, Seed Co and Solar Farm, but ZESA has not responded.

“We are pushing for a dedicated power line to supply AfDIS, Windmill, Seed Co and Solar Farm among others with uninterrupted power,” he said.

The power situation in Zimbabwe is expected to worsen in the coming months, as the El Nino weather phenomenon is likely to reduce rainfall patterns and water inflows at Lake Kariba, the site of the country’s most reliable hydroelectric power plant.

Last month, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Gloria Magombo, warned Zimbabweans to brace for more power cuts, while the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Edgar Moyo, said that the country will start experiencing reduced load shedding at the end of November when Hwange Thermal Power Station's Unit 7 is back on the national grid.

Post a Comment