Ten years in jail for stealing Zesa transformer oil
May 19, 2013 in Local, News
CHIPINGE — Two notorious oil dealers, who have been wreaking havoc in and
around Chipinge draining electricity transformer oil, finally met their fate
last week when they were jailed for an effective 10 years.
REPORT BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
The duo, Michael Mudzamiri and Phillip Mandizvidza appeared before Chipinge
magistrate Makamera Waini facing charges of contravening Section 6 of the
The State led by prosecutor Thembalami Dhliwayo heard that on April 2, the
two drained 110 litres of oil from a Zesa 33kv transformer near Gaza in
Chipinge. This act resulted in a major power blackout in the area on the day
Testifying in court, police detective constable Fanuel Nyamutsa, told the
court that the accused persons voluntarily led them to the transformer and
even demonstrated how they drained the oil.
He further revealed that the accused showed them the other five
transformers, which they successfully drained without being apprehended by
the police. However, in their defence both the accused persons denied the
charges and told the court that they admitted to the offence after police
officers assaulted them.
But magistrate, Waini, threw away their defence saying no medical report was
ever produced as evidence to buttress their allegations and convicted the
two due to overwhelming evidence.
Vandalism of Zesa equipment is on the surge in Manicaland province.
This has been attributed to the high unemployment rate in the country and
high demand of copper cables in neighbouring countries such as Mozambique
and South Africa where prices are reported to be lucrative.
Zimbabwe to pay off Nampower $40m debt
May 17, 2013 in Business
ZIMBABWE is expected to have more than 100 megawatts (MW) additional power
on its supply grid by November this year after Zesa Holdings (Zesa) has
expunged a US$40 million debt owed to Namibian state-owned electricity
company NamPower, Energy minister Elton Mangoma said.
Report by Taurai Mangudhla
The US$40 million is in respect of a February 2007 deal in which NamPower
gave Zesa a loan to refurbish its Hwange Thermal Power Station.
Zesa was to repay the debt by exporting 100MW during peak periods and 150MW
off peak to Namibia daily for five years given Zimbabwe’s then
hyperinflationary environment and lack of foreign currency.
“The power purchase agreement is for 150MW so you can see it’s a lot of
power which when that contract terminates we will be able to have another
100 to 150MW supplied to the country,” Mangoma said.
The 150MW is expected to reduce the country’s power deficit which currently
stands around 800MW.
Mangoma said Zesa was currently supplying NamPower with electricity worth
between US$4 to US$5 million each month.
“What they have done is to ask us to sign a power purchase agreement which
is a lot more than the amount that they have given us, for instance, we have
got a contract that says we should be able to export power which sometimes
is in the region of US$4 to US$5 million a month to them,” he said.
“As you can see if we were just repaying with electricity we could have just
taken ten months or one year and finished it, but they instead actually pay
us for that electricity or a portion of it until the end of the power
purchase agreement which is in October.”
Zimbabwe’s power purchase agreement with Namibia was expected to be fully
met last year, but it was extended for another year after the country failed
to honour the agreement on account of persistent power generation
In September last year, Mangoma announced Zimbabwe would continue supplying
Namibia with electricity until it clears the debt.
Mangoma statement on power generation
on May 4, 2013 at 6:38 am
Press statement by Elton Mangoma, the Minister of Energy and Power
Development on initiatives to boost the power situation
In view of the current challenges besetting the efficient supply of power
nationwide and the need to enhance the financial position of the electricity
utilities, the Ministry of Energy and Power Development has come up with a
number strategies to mitigate the power situation in the country.
The measures being taken are divided into Generation capacity and supply
side activities, Demand Side Management and Institutional changes. The
supply side is further split into short, medium and long term measures.
The strategies include;
STATUS OF GENERATION
The generation capacity of the Hwange Power Station has improved
significantly with an average of five units (580MW). This has allowed the
Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to carry out upgrade works and preventive
maintenance at the Kariba Power Station without causing major power
shortfall to the system. The Kariba Power Station has continued to maintain
a steady power generation.
The smart/prepayment metering is a valuable short term strategy which seeks
to improve revenue collection by the utility and influence behaviour change
on how consumers use electricity. The system also assists ZETDC to recover
accrued debts by deducting 20 percent on every electricity purchase going
towards servicing the debt, among other benefits.
As of yesterday, a total of 150 000 prepayment meters had been installed for
both domestic and commercial users. Government issued a Statutory Instrument
44A on Electricity (unpaid bills, prepaid meters and smart meters)
regulations, 2013 which aims, among other things, to speed up the
implementation of the prepaid/ smart metering programme.
The Statutory Instrument compels all electricity consumers to purchase and
install smart meters with the exception of high density customers, rural
customers and light load agricultural customers. The Statutory Instrument
also deals with outstanding bills on the date on which the prepaid meter is
installed as these will be transferred to the property at which the prepaid
meter is installed.
In order to ensure efficiency, ZETDC this week commissioned a new Vending
Platform supplied by Itron of South Africa. The new Platform can accommodate
both smart and prepaid meters.
Medium Term Power Generation
• KARIBA SOUTH EXPANSION – The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and Sinohydro
have concluded negotiations for the 300MW Kariba South Expansion Project. As
a result, Sinohydro has commenced work at the site.
• HWANGE POWER STATION – adjudication process for the 600MW Hwange Expansion
Project has been completed and the project was awarded to CMEC. Work is
expected to commence before the end of the year.
• 84MW DIESEL GENERATOR – A diesel plant (84MW) that has operated for
100hours has been identified at a capital cost of €37 million. This about
50% of the cost of new plant. The ZPC has made a technical analysis and that
diesel generators are suitable for our system and have the capacity of
reducing load shedding by 80MW.
• 30 MW GAIREZI SMALL HYDRO POWER PLANT – The project is now at design stage
following completion of feasibility studies and official launch is expected
• 500MW CBM POWER STATION- ZPC has also floated a tender for resource
mapping of coal bed methane. The tender was awarded to WAPCOS of India and
it is ready to carry out the work. However, ZPC is awaiting CBM special
grants documentation from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
Instead there are two grants awarded to one company Shangani Energy and
another to China Africa Sunlight by the mines ministry. The grants are
overlapping with the desired ZPC concession area. These concessions were
granted after Cabinet granted ZPC concession but the Mines and Mining
Development ministry is refusing to effect Cabinet decision.
• 1000MW WESTERN AREA POWER STATION – China Railway International (CRI) and
China International Fund (CFI) have signed a Memoranda of Understanding
(MoUs) with the government to develop a 1000MW thermal plants.
China Railway International came for site investigation in December 2012 and
has submitted a draft contract for the project development. The finalisation
of reinstating the Western Area coal concession to the ZPC by the Ministry
of Mines is important. Again the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is
not cooperating, causing a delay in the commencement of this project.
• 100MW ON-GRID SOLAR POWER – Some suitable sites for the 100MW solar power
plant are being identified. The ZPC has engaged the Plumtree Town Council
for land to construct the power station. A tender for the 100MW power plant
is expected to be floated soon. The tender will cover BOT, IPP, PPP and pure
LONG TERM PROJECTS
• THE BATOKA HYDRO ELECTRIC POWER PROJECT –Zambia and Zimbabwe have agreed
to undertake this project on a BOT basis. This was after Zimbabwe agreed to
honour the EXCAPCO assets debt of $70.8 million. So far a total of US$40
million has been paid towards the US$70, 8 million. The Zambezi River
Authority called for Expressions of Interest to develop the Batoka on a
Build Operate and Transfer basis. The response was extremely good -25
companies showed interest and the majority from credible international
• THE GREAT INGA HYDRO PROJECT – is proposed on the Congo River in the DRC.
This can produce around 100 000MW. This project is too big for the DRC and
requires a regional approach. If this is constructed it will change the
economic fortunes of the region. Hydro power is cheap and it is worth the
time spent on promoting it.
• RESTRUCTURING OF THE POWER SECTOR – The restructuring of ZESA Holdings has
been approved by Cabinet. This is to make ZESA more efficient and responsive
to the consumers, whilst at the same time, setting up a mechanism to make it
easy for Independent Power Producers to have a level playing field.
These developments will result in the following.
• ZESA Holdings be collapsed into a National Grid Services Company (NGSC)
and move all the legacy debts to this company. It will be 100% Government
owned and it will not be privatised. NGSC will be responsible for
Transmission, Market and Systems Operation. It will have the “reserve
• ZETDC will transfer the transmission functions to NGSC and transform to
Zimbabwe Distribution Company (ZEDC) and be responsible for Distribution of
• SUMMARY – Measures to consolidate the power availability and reliability
will continue. Such measures will include taking out plant for preventive
routine maintenance and equipment upgrade. Negotiations for firm power
imports from the region will be pursued by both Government and the power
The implementation of all power projects continue to be a critical success
factor for securing self-sufficiency and reliability in power supply to the
nation. To this end the Ministry is continuously evaluating project risks
and working on mitigatory measures to ensure the projects are realised.
Zesa smart meters set to reduce load-shedding
April 28, 2013 in Business
THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has partnered with the
Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) and a
local company to roll out smart meter technology expected to reduce
load-shedding in the commercial sector.
Report by Ndamu Sandu
The move comes at a time generation capacity is unable to meet demand
resulting in power blackouts.
A smart meter refers to an electrical gadget which records sales of
electricity and allows a two-way communication line between the consumer and
supplier of electricity.
The partnership has roped in Echelon, one of the world’s biggest suppliers
of smart meters. Echelon is working with its local partners, Connect the
World. Echelon has the biggest footprint in terms of smart meter deployment
in the world.
Connect The World managing director Ben Mavedzenge said the technology
typifies the use of ICTs to manage supply and demand and in the process
converting a grid into an internet protocol.
“Accessibility to information is as ubiquitous as one with an internet
account. Any person can access the account and see how they are consuming
electricity,” he said.
The power utility recently in-stalled in households prepaid metres,
replacing conventional billing system that had been posing challenges as
consumers were not paying up.
“It [prepaid meters] addresses the cashflow issues for utilities. It can’t
tell you the upsurge or voltage drop. Because of that, it is called a dumb
meter. Smart metering involves two-way communication. It can report you back
to the server if one tampers with it,” Mavedzenge said.
Owen Masaraure, ZNCC’s energy efficiency engineer and project manager told
Standardbusiness that the use of the technology came after the realisation
that the solution to “the current power cuts is not only from the supply
side of the grid but also lies on the fact that industry and commerce was
not being responsible enough to account for all that is being fed from the
Masaraure said the use of smart meters was motivated by an urgent need to
manage the country’s peak demand after realising that the power shortfalls
of 800MW is a result of poor load management by industry.
“About 60% of this peak demand can be curtailed, hence smart metering
technology would be ideal to manage such a large peak demand to considerable
margins, thus reducing the power import bill as well as cutting by almost
half in new capacity generations, being touted in most public circle and
requiring large volumes in cash investments,” he said.
He said smart metering technology will enable the regulatory authority to
carry out national power audits on continuous basis with a view to
synchronise tariffs with variations in seasonal demands or coming up with a
cost based tariff regime.
How does industry benefit from smart meters?
Masaraure said companies on maximum demand can reduce by close to almost 40%
on this tariff through load management programmes, since this technology is
integrated to provide information for such a platform.
“Companies are imposed to part three types of tariffs, that is peak hour
rate, off-peak rate and standard rate and can be in a position to reduce the
much expensive peak hour rate, currently hovering above US$0,12 per unit,
through load curtailment programmes, or rather peak shaving arrangements
using the very smart metering technology. We are estimating that between
5%-20% savings can be achieved on peak demand charge to those exposed to
such a tariff,” he said.
Efficient use of electricity means that the country would save on imports.
On average the power utility generates 1194MW and imports 55MW.
Masaraure said company executives or engineers will be enabled to manage
their energy usage outside their business premises, as well as accessing
their cost of electricity after usage at any time without prejudice from the
“There is also reduction in load shedding through improved load management
programmes resulting in savings there by feeding back into the grid,” he
The technology is also envisaged to improve energy audits to the corporate
world, thereby empowering management to formulate energy policies that
enable them to invest monies into energy upgrades.
Zimbabwe Power Company plans to build $100m solar power plant
EBR Staff Writer
Published 12 April 2013
Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) is outlining plans to construct a $100m solar
PV plant in the Midlands Province of the country.
The electricity generated from the 100MW plant in Zvishavane would be fed
into the national transmission line, The Financial Gazette reported.
Confirming the construction of plant, ZPC business performance manager
Bernard Chizengeya stated that the company had recently completed the
feasibility test for the plant.
"We are already done with the feasibility studies and the project will
require about US$100 million. We are going to tender soon to get a
contractor who can provide part of the funding," elaborated Chizengeya.
The new plant is expected to cater to the country's energy demand of
2,200MW, of which the power generation capacity is reportedly at 1,000MW.
Meanwhile, ZPC also has five energy projects in the pipeline across the
Power Utility's Prepaid Meter Confusion Sparks Public Anger
WASHINGTON DC — Some Bulawayo and Harare residents say they are confused by
the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority’s pre-paid meter billing system.
They fear they are being overcharged by the state entity, which is
struggling to settle a $500 million debt.
A number of consumers told VOA Studio 7 that the billing system is so
complicated that it is difficult to know how much electricity they are
buying. As a result, some have stopped cooking traditional foods that need a
lot of time to prepare, as they cannot be sure they will have exhausted
their pre-paid units before they’ve finished cooking.
One area of confusion is the basic cost of a unit of electricity.According
to ZESA, pre-paid meter users pay 2 cents per unit for the first 50
kilowatts while those who consume between 51 and 300 kilowatts are charged
11 cents per unit. Anything above 300 kilowatts attracts a charge of 15
cents per unit. The flat ZESA tariff is being replaced nationwide by the
prepaid meter system.
But Ambrose Sibindi of the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association said
some residents recently spent $30 to obtain 292 units, but others received
only 190 units for the same amount.
Mr. Sibindi said he has received many complaints about this and other areas
Harare Ward 13 councillor Peter Moyo said the problems may be linked to ZESA’s
attempts to recover debts from residents.
The $500 million ZESA debt accrued due to a decade-long economic downturn
which eased after the adoption of multiple foreign currencies in 2009.
Energy Minister Elton Mangoma said ZESA and the government are aware of
Zesa pre-paid meters spark outrage
March 3 2013
BULAWAYO; The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) pre-paid metre billing system has drawn the ire of Bulawayo residents who are accusing the power utility of cheating them of their hard earned money.
Zesa introduced the pre-paid meter system last year replacing the loader meters and the exercise is still to cover other areas. Yesterday residents said Zesa’s billing system has seen those who exceed 50 kilowatt hours a month having to spend 10 times more when they need more electricity for the remainder of the month.
“How are we expected to make ends meet when they are charging us exorbitantly like this,” said a resident from Coronation Cottages in North End.
She said the power utility’s billing system was deliberately complicated to cheat unsuspecting consumers. “When I first bought electricity I got 292 units for $30, when I bought again with the same amount, they gave me 190 units. This is day light robbery because how can the same amount give me lesser and lesser units,” said the resident, who is a pensioner.
“Zesa needs to be investigated so that their cheating is put to an end,” she said.
Another resident from Luveve suburb said he did not understand the whole billing system by Zesa.
“When I complained that they had actually charged me more than the same units last time I bought electricity last week they told me that the more I consume electricity the more I have to pay,” said the resident who is a teacher.
He said the stance taken by Zesa was unfair.
“They are taking advantage of the already vulnerable citizens. As it stands people are already struggling with other obligations such as school fees and yet they sell us electricity at this absurd rates,” said the resident.
Another resident from Mahatshula said there was a need for Zesa to review its tariffs.
“If there was a way of going back to the old system, it could be better, because this new metre system is proving to be more expensive,” said the resident.
He said the old system had no provisions that disadvantaged consumers such as the new system.
Another consumer complained that apart from the high tariffs, Zesa was also deducting more than 20 percent from amounts they pay to settle outstanding debts. “We are being simply being overcharged and we don’t understand these flimsy excuses they are feeding us,” said a Queens Park East resident.
The first 50-kilowatt hours are billed at two cents per unit while those who consume between 51 and 300 kilowatts are charged at 11 cents per unit. Those who exceed the 300 units are charged at a higher charge of 15 cents per unit. This has seen some consumers who slipped into the 51 kilowatts range complaining that the recently introduced prepaid meter system by Zesa was a way of cheating them as their units got used up quickly.
Contacted for comment Zesa Holdings spokesperson Mr Fullard Gwasira said tariffs for pre-paid meter users had not been increased, but consumers would witness a corresponding rise in electricity payments if they consumed more energy.
“The pre-paid metre system is not like the juice (airtime) card one for phones. This system is consumption sensitive in the sense that the more power you use, the more you should pay,” said Mr Gwasira.
He said this was because they wanted residents to adopt a culture of saving power.
“We want to enforce behaviour change, this system recognises how much electricity one uses and if people do not change their behaviour towards saving energy then they would always complain that we are overcharging them,” said Mr Gwasira.
The Zimbabwe Energy Authority, however, only gave the power utility the green light to increase average tariffs from 9,83c kilowatt per hour to 9,86c.Add a comment
Zimbabwe/Zambia electricty debt
by Rebecca Moyo
ZESA Holdings says the creation of a sinking fund with a local bank would
enable Zimbabwe clear its US$70,8 million debt owed to Zambia after the
creation of a sinking fund with a local bank.
Giving an update on operations before the Parliamentary Committee of State
Enterprises and Parastatals today, Zesa chief executive Engineer Joshua
Chifamba said Zesa had made progress on the old debt owed to its northern
neighbours clearing the way for work on the Batoka electricity project to
“Zesa has paid US$20 million after the creation of a sinking fund with a
local bank and should have paid an additional US$20 million by the end of
March this year,” he said.
“The amount should be cleared by the end of March next year with work on the
project expected to begin within 18 months as expressions of interest had
been advertised,” he said.
Batoka is situated 50kms downstream of Victoria Falls and would provide 800
MW of hydro power generation capacity for each of the two countries (1 600MW
Zambia said they would not partner Zimbabwe until the asset debt accrued
during the Federation-era was cleared. The principal amount owing was
US$70,8 million but there was also an interest charge of US$115 million
which has been accruing since dissolution. Interest is being charged at 5,2
million per annum.
The debt also includes proceeds of the sale of assets belonging to former
Central African Power Corporation disbanded in 1987, where Zimbabwe
reportedly benefited more. CAPCO was running the Kariba power project for
the two countries during Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland era.
He said the amount owed to Zesa Holdings by customers has ballooned to
US$730 million since dollarisation of the economy in 2009. Chifamba said.
huge corporates were the biggest debtors, accounting for nearly a third of
“The money we are owed has risen to US$730 million and of the total amount,
domestic consumers owe us US$261 million,” said Chifamba. “This puts us in a
very tight position (in terms of viability).”
Zesa embarked on a rollout programme of prepaid meters last year in a bid to
improve revenue inflows, but this is moving at a much slower pace than
anticipated due to funding problems. By last month, Zesa had installed only
55 000 prepaid meters in domestic premises countrywide since August last
year against a target of 600 000 households.
Expansion of power station hits a snag
BY RAY NDLOVU, JANUARY 15 2013, 10:04 | 0 COMMENT(S)
A MULTIMILLION-dollar deal between Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and
Chinese-owned SinoHydro for the expansion of Kariba South power station has
been delayed amid indications the deal document breached procurement
The delay will affect work on the expansion of the power station, which was
expected to increase power generation by 300MW. The state procurement board
was now likely to investigate, energy officials said on Monday.
At issue is the concern of SinoHydro about changes to the deal document,
including an increase from the initial $355m quote to $390m, for
"contingencies", seemingly added by ZPC without consultation. Power
regulations stipulate that ZPC must first seek authorisation from the state
procurement board for any price changes.
"The actual contract was for $355m, but the total price that we signed the
contract for was $390m, including contingencies," said Wu Yifeng, at
SinoHydro Zimbabwe. "It is the final price that was approved that concerns
us. We did not include the contingencies."
Energy Minister Elton Mangoma said his office was not yet privy to the
"irregularities", but advised that delays would increase the costs.
Power tender sparks furore
Friday, 04 January 2013 00:00
Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter
THE signing of a contract between Zimbabwe Power Company and SinoHydro, the
winning bidder for the expansion of Kariba South Power Station, has sparked
a furore amid indications that the deal breached procurement regulations.
This could delay the expansion of the power station that was expected to
increase power generation by 300 Megawatts as the State Procurement Board
might be forced to investigate the matter, sources said yesterday.
The SPB recently awarded SinoHydro of China — a sole bidder for the
project — the tender for engineering, procurement and construction of the
Kariba South Power Station expansion project.
This was after the firm tendered a bid for about US$368 million, which was
reduced to US$355 million after Government resolved to scrap excise duty for
the importation of equipment.
However, ZPC signed a contract with the Chinese firm last month for US$390
million, without consulting the SPB on the new changes.
SinoHydro representative in Zimbabwe, Mr Wu Yifeng, yesterday confirmed
there had been a variation to the original price.
“The actual contract was for US$355 million, but the total price that we
signed the contract for was US$390 million, including contingencies,” said
He said there was nothing wrong with the variation because both SinoHydro
and ZPC had approved it.
“It is the final price that was approved by both sides. ZPC put variations
for the contingencies. We did not include the contingencies in our bid
because they had not requested for it,” he said.
He said the contingencies were to be agreed upon during contract
However, a well-placed source said this was in breach of the procurement
“Section 26 of the procurement regulations states that in the event of any
variations, it should be approved by the SPB. Contingencies should be
sanctioned by the SPB but in this case they (ZPC) sanctioned it on their
own. Besides, the bidder should have indicated their contingencies in their
“This is a breach of the procurement regulations because the ZPC usurped the
powers of the SPB. We will obviously act to address that anomaly because
laws are laws,” said the source.
Efforts to get a comment from ZPC managing director Mr Noah Gwariro were
Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma yesterday said he had
not yet received communication from the SPB on the latest developments.
“I have not received any correspondence from the State Procurement Board if
they have any concerns with regards to that. At this stage I am not aware of
any additional issues to be sorted out.
“But let me say contracts for such big projects require an understanding of
issues that are different. Timing comes into play because delay or fast
tracking of the project will result in prices either going up or down,” said
He said Government set conditions for the contract in the implementation of
“We have told them that we don’t want them to blast into the rock like they
were doing on the Zambian side (Kariba North). We don’t want to weaken the
foundation of the dam wall. The geology of the rock on the Southern side is
different to the geology on the Northern side. We have agreed that they
should not blast because the rock here is softer compared to the Zambian
side,” said Minister Mangoma.
SPB chairman Mr Charles Kuwaza said his office was yet to receive
communication on the latest development.
Mr Yifeng said the project that is expected to take four years, would start
as soon as the Export-Import Bank of China, the financers of the project,
release the money.
This, he said, would be expedited if the Zimbabwean Government settled its
US$27 million debt to the bank.
“The Ministry of Finance has already requested ZPC to pay the money, but
they have a challenge in raising that money.
“They, however, agreed to talk to our head office in China to see if
SinoHydro can help for the project to start soon,” said Mr Yifeng.
ZESA restructures tariffs as energy concerns remain high
By Alex Bell
04 January 2013
National power authority ZESA has restructured its tariffs, as concern about
the country’s energy problems remains high.
ZESA subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution
Company (ZETDC), has reduced electricity tariffs for prepaid users and
businesses. The company announced on Monday that the new tariffs would come
into effect this week.
The new tariff structures will now see prepaid users getting their first 50
kilowatts per hour for “free” while business will enjoy a 20% reduction for
the first 50 units used, which would be charged at $0,02 per unit instead of
the normal $0,09.
Regular power users meanwhile are facing a 0.3% increase on their tariffs.
The tariff changes come just days after the Harare Power Station was shut
down on Sunday because of low coal stocks. Other power stations like Hwange
Thermal, Munyati, Bulawayo and Kariba Hydro, are all currently operating
below capacity due to ongoing maintenance and modernisation works.
Precious Shumba from the Harare Residents’ Trust told SW Radio Africa on
Friday that ZESA’s top priority in 2013 should be the provision of a better
service for its consumers. He said that energy problems are now widely
expected among the public, but people had hope ZESA would start
communicating properly to warn people what to expect.
“The expectation now from the public is for ZESA to deal with issues of
corruption and accurate billing. And to stop cutting off supplies to people
who have inaccurate estimated bills. Basically, we are expecting a better
service and better communication from the power authority,” Shumba said.
Zesa pre-paid metering no magic bullet
January 4, 2013 in News
AFTER many years of persistently crying foul for being ripped off by Zesa’s
estimation-based billing system, many residents countrywide have finally
heaved a sigh of relief after the power utility’s on-going installation of
Report by Wongai Zhangazha
Zesa had for years been short-changing hard-pressed consumers by sending
them estimated bills resulting in residents paying inflated bills despite
intermittent power cuts that occasionally stretched for days or weeks in
Consumers also complained Zesa bills were frequently late, making it
difficult to budget for power consumption.
Last year the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company
(ZETDC), a subsidiary of Zesa Holdings, embarked on wholesale replacement of
all conventional post-paid meters with pre-paid meters.
The project involves the migration of about 600 000 domestic and small
business customers from credit metering to pre-paid or “smart metering” over
a 10- month period.
As of December 2012, about 23 000 meters had been installed in Harare and
The new meters have been installed in the Avenues area, Mabelreign, the new
Willowvale Flats in Highfield and Belvedere, while in Bulawayo they have
been installed in Emganwini, Paddonhurst and Mahatshula.
Other areas earmarked for deployment of pre-paid meters are Chitungwiza,
Gweru, Kwekwe, Mutare, Masvingo, Chinhoyi, Bindura, Kadoma and Marondera.
Residents have widely applauded the project, saying they are relieved to
have the freedom to manage their electricity bills by paying for actual
ZETDC commercial director Enock Ncube said the initiative has given the
utility the capacity to deliver on its main role of facilitating the
improvement of availability of electricity to the populace, as well as the
attainment of self-sufficiency in electricity generation.
Ncube said: “The utility is a key enabler of the country’s economic recovery
under the new Medium Term Policy, and as such introduction of pre-payment
meters to customers is one of the key pillars to achieve business excellence
and turn around service delivery in the short and long-term.”
According to Zesa officials, the pre-paid tariff is lower than the metered
tariff as it eliminates meter reading, billing and postage costs.
The officials added that electricity debt on the post-paid account would be
transferred to the new pre-paid account, meaning 20% of pre-paid electricity
purchase would go towards clearing the consumer’s debt.
Although the pre-paid meters have proved popular with residents who can now
budget how much they want to spend on electricity, there are fears
installation of the meters does not address the problem of cost since Zesa
still owes millions of US dollars in power imports, or the availability of
power in the country. Zesa produces about 1 200MW of electricity against a
national demand of 2 200MW.
Installation of pre-paid meters may also result in poor households and
essential service providers such as clinics and hospitals finding themselves
without power after failing to buy electricity since the meters have turned
power into a cash commodity.
Most essential service providers depend on government and donor funding,
meaning they can only settle their bills after funding has been secured. The
pre-paid meter system does not make an allowance for most essential services
being plunged into darkness for far longer periods compared to the power
cuts era as electricity would only be restored after topping up.
Electricity tariffs are likely to go up due to the wholesale installation of
pre-paid meters given that power has to be purchased from the Democratic
Republic of Congo and Mozambique, analysts said.
“It appears as though government has decided to pass on the cost (of power
imports) to the user without democratically explaining affordability of the
important energy source for many urban households and industries,” said an
analyst who requested anonymity.
“It’s a decision to privatise electricity to allow Zesa to pass on the cost
to the consumer at unreasonable rates, while at the same time claiming to be
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association co-ordinator Rodrick Fayayo
applauded the pre-paid system for doing away with the discredited estimate
“The relief that came with that project is that it has dealt with the
problem of estimate billing,” said Fayayo. “However, electricity will now be
turned into a commercial service rather than a basic right. If you don’t
have money then you don’t have electricity. In Bulawayo, there are many
residents who are elderly and child-headed households which cannot afford to
buy electricity. What happens to them? What is Zesa’s plan for them? I think
Zesa did not fully prepare for this initiative and had selfish reasons.”
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe executive director Rosemary Siyachitema said
although her organisation was at the forefront of pushing for pre-paid
meters, it was yet to do a proper assessment of Zesa’s initiatives from a
“We have not done an assessment yet of the progress so far over the pre-paid
meters from a consumer point of view,” Siyachitema said. “This is something
we plan to do mid-year.”
Govt to unbundle ZESA
Friday, 07 December 2012 11:46
GOVERNMENT is this month expected to unbundle ZESA Holdings into three
separate entities, The Financial Gazette's Companies & Markets can report.
The move is meant to clean up a huge debt on the power utility's balance
sheet and create a level playing field for independent power producers to
help meet electricity demand.
Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma (pictured) confirmed the
unbundling on Monday, saying the new structure would see the creation of
National Grid Services Company (NGSC) responsible for the transmission of
power, marketing and systems operations.
NGSC will inherit all of ZESA ‘legacy' debts and will be 100 per cent
He said the other two companies would be the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC),
already a subsidiary of ZESA responsible for electricity generation, and the
Zimbabwe Distribution Company taking charge of the distribution of
"The new structure will see the creation of a new company NGSC, ZPC and
Zimbabwe Distribution Company. These companies will be on a flat level.
There will be no more ZESA Holdings.
"ZESA has what we call a huge ‘legacy' debt. Each of the separate units has
got some debt. In total, ZESA has a debt of over US$400 million. These debts
were incurred long before ZESA was first unbundled in 2002.
"If we are going into projects with these debts, potential investors will
look at the balance sheet and say this company is not good. So we want to
have a safe way of dealing with that debt.
"By end of this December, we will be able to show a ZPC balance sheet which
is clean. If it is clean we can now do business, which is our intention,"
The Minister also said it was important to set up a mechanism which would
create a level playing field for independent power producers.
"We are now going to have independent power producers in the market so it's
important that we create a level playing field.
Mangoma added that the country's electricity law would be amended next year
to enable the transfer of ‘legacy' debt.
"The transfer of the legacy debt requires the current law to be amended so
that if we are going to have any challenge from any creditor, it will be
covered in the law. But the change of the shareholding does not require the
law," said Mangoma.
Mangoma said workers at the power utility should not panic as their future
"There is a lot of uncertainty and anxiety at the moment," said Mangoma.
"They (workers) are unsure whether they have a job or their posts will
disappear in the new structure. There is always this fear of losing jobs
when a restructuring exercise of this magnitude is taking place. This
exercise does not however necessarily mean that the changes we are bringing
are going to see people losing their jobs.
"The formation of NGSC requires a lot of personnel so a lot are going there.
More importantly ZPC is going to do a lot of projects. Already there is the
expansion of Kariba and Hwange Power stations, Gairezi, solar plant and we
are pursuing the Lupane gas project. All this increased activities require
"But, truly there is going to be some changes for those who were sitting at
ZESA Holdings and thinking they were above everyone else. They have to come
to the party and be equal to others.
Minister Mangoma however, could not be drawn into discussing the fate of
group chief executive officer, Josh Chifamba.
"We have already spoken to him and he fully knows and understands what is
going to happen to him. I cannot reveal that now," said Mangoma.
Massive power outage hits Bulawayo
By Tichaona Sibanda
26 November 2012
One of the worst blackouts to hit Bulawayo this year left most of the city
without power for more than 20 hours from Sunday evening to Monday
The Central Business District, as well as most the eastern and western
suburbs were all affected. It is unclear why the supply was so severely
interrupted but reports say torrential rains that fell in the city over the
weekend may have caused the blackout.
Our correspondent, Lionel Saungweme, told us the power cut happened at
around 6pm on Sunday and power was restored to some areas by 2pm on Monday.
Power cuts are now a common occurrence in Bulawayo because of a fundamental
shortage of power and an ageing grid. The chaos caused by such cuts has led
to protests against the power utility company, ZESA.
‘The blackouts are becoming more frequent typically because of government’s
lack of investment in the energy infrastructures, and which are also prone
to serious weather. This latest power cut completely shut down production at
companies and critical infrastructures such as telecommunication networks,
financial services, water supplies and hospitals,’ Saungweme said.
He said authorities were working to restore service to some areas that still
had no power, adding that there are fears the power blackouts will become
more frequent, owing to the lack of incentives to invest in national grid
Saungweme said the widespread power outages seriously disrupted business and
industrial activities which adversely affected productivity.
He said, ‘It also caused disruptions and inconveniences to residents. In
addition, such failure to provide a reliable service clearly has negative
consequences for business confidence of both domestic and foreign investors,
which in turn impacts on the country’s economic growth targets.’
Patson Mbiriri, the secretary for energy and power development, told an
annual congress of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries in July this
year that energy-starved Zimbabwe will suffer longer and more frequent power
shortages for the next 10 years.
Zimbabwe needs about 2 200MW of electricity at peak consumption, but
generates just below 1 300MW while relying on imports to fill the gap.
Mbiriri said the country will only be able to generate enough power for
domestic and industrial power by 2022.
Zimbabwe set for massive power blackouts
on November 26, 2012 at 2:18 am
By Myleen Sibanda | Nehanda Business |
Zimbabweans are set to endure a miserable festive season of blackouts after
the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) announced a massive load
shedding programme starting this Monday until the beginning of next year.
In an emergency Power Supply Update released over the weekend, Zesa
spokesperson Mr Fullard Gwasira, said the power cuts would be necessitated
by an extensive maintenance programme at Hwange and Kariba power stations.
“There will be an increase in load-shedding outside the publicised schedules
from Monday 26 November due to a maintenance exercise at Unit 2 of Kariba
Power Station,” he said. This be completed within a period of 18 days.
Gwasira said “The power supply situation will be compounded by Unit 3 of
Kariba Power Station that will be taken out on 15 December 2012 for a period
of six weeks for further technical repairs.”
“Thereafter, the remaining units 1, 4, 5 and 6 will be out one by one at a
time for a six-week period each for further technical repairs.” Gwasira said
more maintenance work would also be done at Hwange Power Station.
“Unit 1 of Hwange Power Station will be taken out on 7 December 2012 for a
20-day maintenance period,” he said. Gwasira urged consumers to use the
available power sparingly to minimise the effects of load-shedding.
So why have they picked the festive season?
The original plan was to carry out maintenance between April and May, but
Gwasira said they realised it was the winter peak period and so they
postponed to December when demand is low after most companies close for the
Mini-hydro power station changes lives
November 11, 2012 in Community News
MUTARE SOUTH — Access to modern and cheap energy remains a pipe dream for
most families in the rural areas across the country.
REPORT BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
But that is now a problem of the past for the rural community of Chipendeke
in Mutare South, which is generating electricity from a micro-hydro project.
The US$75 000 project, a community initiative sponsored by a
non-governmental organisation, Practical Action Southern Africa, is designed
to improve the lives of people living in rural areas.
So far at least 400 households, clinics and schools in Chipendeke — 70km
south of Mutare — are already using electricity from the project for
cooking, lighting and even to power their electrical domestic gadgets.
A recent visit to the area by Standardcommunity revealed that life had
changed for the better for the community following the commissioning of the
project, which has a capacity to generate 25 kilowatts of energy.
One of the beneficiaries of the project, Misheck Mukundwa (33) said the
venture had assisted the community to raise income to sustain their
“People can now afford to pay fees for their children and buy food from the
sale of produces from the irrigation scheme,” he said.
A smallholder farmer, Shadreck Mudiwa said the project had enabled him to
boost agricultural production at Chipendeke Irrigation Scheme.
“The availability of electric power has encouraged us as farmers to produce
more food for the community and for resale in the city,” said Mudiwa. “We
used to incur losses when our perishables turned bad. But now we can
refrigerate them before taking them to the market.”
A local environmentalist, Brian Makumbe said the introduction of electricity
in the area had reduced environmental degradation as people now used less
firewood for cooking and lighting.
“We really appreciated this kind of initiative because it brings development
and sustainable management of the environment,” said Makumbe. “We expect
villagers to save the forest because they have an alternative source of
A nurse at Chipendeke Clinic said before the advent of electricity, staff at
the health centre used to light candles to enable surgical operations at
Storing drugs was also a major challenge.
“We can now operate at night and store our medicines in the refrigerator.
The biggest challenge was that of pregnant mothers who wanted to deliver at
night. They had to bring their own candles,” said a nurse who declined to be
A teacher at a local school, Maxwell Zenda said he expected the pass rate in
schools in the area to improve as students would now have enough time to
study and prepare for exams at night.
Clinics and schools pay US$0,10 per kilowatt while business and households
pay US$0,32 and US$0,15 respectively for the electricity.
Business entities pay more because they derive profit from the project.
The project has also created employment for the locals.
A team of villagers was trained in managing the vending system, installation
of prepaid meters and updating database for users and electrical components.
Improving access to modern energy services
The Chipendeke project is part of a five-year regional micro-hydro project
called Catalysing Modern Energy Service Delivery to Marginal Communities in
The main aim is to improve access to modern energy services and increase
uptake of renewable energy technologies.
The project seeks to remove the policy, technical and institutional barriers
that limit the development and use of renewable energy sources to meet the
energy needs of poor, off-grid communities.
According to Practical Action, access to electricity in rural areas in
southern Africa remains low with Malawi on 0,05%, Mozambique 0,7% and
Residents’ associations threaten to sue Zesa over inflated bills
November 11, 2012 in Local
Residents’ associations in Harare have threatened to sue the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) should it fail to refund consumers it
has been overcharging since last year.
REPORT BY JENNIFER DUBE
The Administrative Court recently nullified Zesa tariffs increases effected
in September 2011, technically forcing the power utility to revert to 2009
This was after a successful legal challenge initiated by the Confederation
of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI).
Residents, who have always complained about exorbitant charges against a
poor service — received the ruling with joy.
Harare Residents Trust (HRT) executive director, Precious Shumba last week
vowed to ensure that consumers got their money back.
“To the residents, the nullification of the rates which were introduced in
September 2011 means that Zesa has to recalculate the bills that were
overcharged and credit the accounts of residents that were affected,” he
“If for any reason, Zesa fails to implement the Administrative Court’s
decision, then the HRT will have no option but to take the matter to the
courts seeking legal redress. Alternatively, being the most popular route
for residents, widespread demonstrations targeting Zesa will be undertaken
with the objective of forcing Zesa Holdings to comply with the law.”
Shumba said last month alone, the HRT intervened in nearly 80 cases relating
to chaotic Zesa billing.
HRT has handled 987 cases since the beginning of the year, up from 400 cases
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) chairman Simbarashe Moyo said
the administrative court ruling was a clear testimony of how difficult life
was for residents.
“Zesa’s inconsistencies have prejudiced residents for a long time,” Moyo
said. “First there was the estimated billing, then the US$30 and US$40 set
by government for high and low density suburbs respectively.
He added: “Then came the era of unjustifiably high tariffs which turn out to
be illegal more than a year down the line.”
Moyo said Zesa must cancel all outstanding bills and start on a new note
based on the prepaid meters they promised to install.
Zesa last week said it had so far installed 19 000 prepaid meters
countrywide. It assured ratepayers that power woes, would soon be over as it
targets to complete the installation of the meters within 10 months.
Under pressure ZESA promises to stop disconnections
By Alex Bell
09 November 2012
The national power utility has promised to stop disconnecting customers with
outstanding payments, while it faces more pressure to sort out its billing
ZESA has ordered its regional managers countrywide to stop power
disconnections, to fall in line with a directive from the Energy Minister
Elton Mangoma more than two months ago. In August, Mangoma had said the
disconnections would stop while the power utility was installing prepaid
meters to households across the country.
However, the directive was not honoured and there have been ongoing reports
of customers being disconnected, despite many insisting that the estimated
bills provided by ZESA do not match their actual power usage.
Jenni Williams, who leads the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA),
said on Friday that the orders to stop the disconnections will come as a
welcome relief. WOZA has been pressuring ZESA throughout the past year to
sort out its billing and power shortage issues, and provide customers with a
proper service. Williams told SW Radio Africa that the ongoing
disconnections have been a source of anger and discontent for many of their
Williams also welcomed a court decision which could see ZESA reimbursing its
customers. An administrate court last week ruled that an energy tariff
increase of more than 30%, that was imposed more than a year ago, was
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries had contested the new tariff on the
basis that when it was approved, the board of the Zimbabwe Electricity
Regulatory Authority (ZERA) was not properly constituted as required by the
law. The Administrative Court president Herbert Mandeya ruled that the
increase was invalid, and ordered ZERA to come up with a new tariff in three
months. Until then, the old tariffs imposed in 2009 will be charged.
There is also still no indication of how the power authority plans to
reimburse customers directly or credit their accounts. WOZA’s Williams said
that either way it is a vindication for those who raised concerns about
being overcharged by ZESA. Williams however raised concerns about the
possible implications of the court decision, warning that ZESA had slowly
begun to improve.
“In 2009 when the old tariff was set we had come out of the most dismal
economic downturn ever. A lot of our rates and prices had not been properly
established and there was a phase of experimentation. What we saw subsequent
to that in the last year, we saw somehow less power cuts, the stabilisation
of a pricing structure. So there have been incremental although slow
improvements,” Williams said.
She expressed concern that these improvements will be reversed if ZESA is
now taking less money every month, after overcharging people for over a
year. She said the implications of that could likely mean more power cuts in
“I’m led to believe that because there have been more customers paying, ZESA
has been in a better position. But now if they are in a negative balance and
they need to refund their consumers, it will prejudice their abilities to
pay for power,” Williams said.
ZESA spokesman Fullard Gwasira had agreed to speak to SW Radio Africa on
Friday, but he was not reachable by phone.
ZESA loses out to resettled farmers
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority could be losing thousands of
dollars in potential revenue through illegal power connections on resettled
farms, it has emerged.
by Sphiwe Ndlovu
In Selous under Chief Chivero’s area people use tree poles to connect wires
to power supplies illegally. Recently two poles collapsed and electrocuted a
cow that was grazing nearby.
Resettled residents of another farm in the same area have also illegally
connected electricity to their homes. More than 80 families are living with
electricity in what used to be a compound.
The power supply is illegally connected to a transformer situated in the
farm house and untreated gum-poles are sunk into the ground to connect live
wires to houses around the compound.
“Each person contributed $40 to buy electric wires and gum-poles for power
to reach his/her home,” said a resident who spoke on condition of anonymity
ZESA Public Relations Manager Fullard Gwasira said they were aware that
illegal connections were taking place in some areas, adding that there were
monitors at every distribution base station across the country. It is a
criminal offense to connect illegally to power supplies.
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