Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

*** The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union. ***


Zimbabwe set for massive power blackouts

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

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.

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 
Southern Africa.

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 
Zimbabwe 19%.

Residents’ associations threaten to sue Zesa over inflated bills

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.


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 
last year.

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

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 
the future.

“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

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. 

Ten new power producers licensed

Ten new power producers licensed

06/11/2012 00:00:00
by Roman Moyo

SOME ten independent power producers with a capacity to generate over 5,000 
megawatts of electricity have been licensed by the Zimbabwe Energy 
Regulatory Authority (ZERA).

The new producers are expected to complement power utility ZESA which is 
struggling to meet demand and has rationed supplies to both domestic and 
commercial users for years.

ZERA Chief Executive Officer, Engineer Gloria Magombo said the coming on 
board of independent power producers will complement the existing power 

Some of the licensed power producers are already operational while two - 
Pungwe and Duru Hydro-Power Stations - are set to be commissioned in the 
next six months with a capacity to generate 5,2 megawatts.

ZERA has since licensed Essar Africa Holdings (600MW), China Africa Sunlight 
(Pvt) Ltd (120MW) and Nyangani Renewable - Duru Minihydro (3.8 MW).

Essar Africa Holdings’ commissioning is expected in 2016, China Africa 
Sunlight (Pvt) Ltd commissioning is in 2014 while Nyangani Renewable Duru 
Minihydro commissioning is in 2013.

The country is facing a huge power deficit which has impacted negatively on 
industry’s performance, with the country generating an average of 1,000 
megawatts out of a requirement of 2,200 megawatts.

In a bid to compliment power generation at Kariba, Hwange and other small 
power stations, government opened up the sector to independent power 

“Power projects by their nature are capital intensive and will cost US$2,5 
million per megawatt and take up to five years before completion,” Magombo 

ZERA has licensed nearly 20 independent power producers, of which four small 
ones located in outlying areas are already operational with a combined 
capacity of 83MW, generally lighting up the Lowveld and keeping a sawmill 

Some of the companies that have been licensed but are not yet operational 
include the proposed giant Sengwa Power Station (2 400 MW), Lusulu Power 
Plant, to the north of Sengwa in Binga (2 000 MW), which is expected to be 
completed next year.

Eunafric Power Station, with an initial capacity of 120 MW, is in 
discussions with Harare City Council and the Zimbabwe Electricity 
Transmission and Distribution 

S. Korea sees potential in Zim's power sector

S. Korea sees potential in Zim's power sector

By Guthrie Munyuki, Senior Assistant Editor
Thursday, 01 November 2012 10:09
HARARE - South Korea wants to bring to an end Zimbabwe’s electricity agony 
which has seen intermittent power cuts adversely affecting key sectors of 
the economy.

Boasting of experience in building power stations both at home and abroad, 
the Asian country seeks to help Zimbabwe expand its power base.

However, there are no prospects of an immediate deal.

“Construction of power stations in your country is a necessity. A viable 
energy sector is what your country needs desperately right now because 
without energy you cannot do anything,” Korean ambassador to Zimbabwe, LEW 
Kwang-chul,” told the Daily News this week.

“In this sector (power and energy) Korea has a role to play because we have 
built a lot of power stations, and every kind of power station in other 

“You need to construct more power stations, either hydropower, coal fuel or 
gas turbine station.

“But as Korea we did not only build many power stations in our own country 
but we do have lots of experience building power stations overseas.

“So for us, if our companies can make a contribution they can come to your 
country and start building modern power stations.”

However, there are no immediate plans to engage the Koreans in the expansion 
of power stations.

Government is yet to sound its Korean counterparts while it continues using 
ad hoc measures to keep Zimbabwe powered.

“Your government is having an interest in renovating the hydropower 

“Our strength lies in building thermal power stations. As your industry 
grows I am sure you will see the need to build more power stations.

“We have lots of things to cooperate with you. As I told you, we can play a 
significant role. Once terms of negotiations are met appropriately from both 
sides, certainly we can do that.”

The Korean envoy spoke as Zimbabwe continues to experience power shortages 
as a result of varying factors.
Among them are the cash squeezes to import more power to augment what is 
currently produced and finance rehabilitation of current power stations.

Zimbabwe needs about 2 200 megawatts of electricity at peak consumption but 
generates less than 1 300 megawatts.

As part of an audacious bid to improve power supplies, Zimbabwe looks 
expectantly to the Batoka Hydro Project agreed with Zambia.

It has the potential to generate between 1 600 to 2 000 megawatts.

Currently, Zimbabwe relies heavily on Kariba and Hwange power stations whose 
power-generation capacities are severely restricted — putting more strain on 
treasury which finances import of additional supplies from the region.

Regionally, only the Hydro Cahora Basa in Mozambique is exporting power to 
Zimbabwe amid surging power demand in southern Africa.

Yet South Korea says its profile in building thermal power stations both at 
home and overseas, is enough testimony of its commitment to end power woes.

“We accumulated a lot of experience in building, in our country, these 
energy producing stations. On the other hand we went abroad and there we 
built a lot of power stations.

“We do not only build power stations but we also run them under Independent 
Power Project for between 15-20 years and hand over to the host country,” 
said Kwang-chul.

South Korea has built power stations in the Middle East, Africa and some 
Asian countries such as Philippines, according to the envoy.

The Asian country, with a population of 50 million, is Asia’s fourth largest 
and the world’s 15th largest economy.

Its economy is export-driven, with production focusing on electronics, 
automobiles, ships, machinery, petrochemicals and robotics.

Zimbabwe is among the several African countries that have benefited from the 
$1 billion assistance under the Korea Africa Economic Cooperation (Koafec).

Kwang-chul said Korea’s rapid economic and social development, particularly 
in the field of IT and agriculture holds valuable promise for Zimbabwe.

“Obviously, Korea, like China, is also a very well known industrial country.

“We do produce a lot of manufactured goods. In doing so, the natural 
resources are a necessity for our country.

“It’s quite natural that a many Koreans population do have a lot of interest 
in countries like Zimbabwe.
“We do have keen interest in the extractive industry. Agriculture in certain 
aspects is also a natural resource.

“Some of the Korean companies have a lot of interest in resuscitating 
commercial farming in your country. As far as I know some of them are 
already in negotiation phase with your concerned authority.

“That’s my understanding. But as you know, it takes some time to complete 
all these negotiation procedures.

“Certainly in the near future, some of the bigger Korean companies will make 
their presence in Zimbabwe.
“They are open to do business in extractive industries and commercial 
farming,” said the ambassador.

However, he implored the government to establish a legal and ownership 
system that allows commercial farmers to run their businesses with 

While seeing resuscitation in agriculture, Kwang-chul observed that most 
farms were saddled with poor irrigation equipment despite the abundant small 

“You have many small dams but unfortunately because of many factors 
including lack of electricity you cannot take advantage of these dams even 
though you have water in these dams. You cannot draw it to the farms,” he 

Most farmers have suffered bad cropping as a result of drought-induced 
effects, including poor rains.

Consequently, Zimbabwe has remained on the throes of cereal and grain 
deficits blamed on both these factors and its chaotic 2000 agrarian reforms 
which empowered peasants and Zanu PF politicians.

But Kwang-chul said Zimbabwe was poised to rejuvenate its agriculture by 
installing new measures such as technology.

Korea, said its envoy, has programmes that would open avenues to new trends 
in different sectors of the economy.

“In order to reach this level of course, Korea had to run a lot of public 
complicated economic development programmes.

“Those economic experiences are the things we want to share with 
Zimbabweans. We are ready to open our
expertise and know-how which we have gathered through all these complicated 

“From government side, we already have some programmes run through the 
Knowledge Sharing Programme.

“We continue our exercise to transfer our technology and expertise to the 
Zimbabwe people by inviting more of Zimbabwean trainees either to Korean 
International Aid Cooperation (Koica) or some other programmes,” said 

He said big Korean corporations were also running their own training 
courses, separately.

“Perhaps we can take advantage of that. I would like to see enhanced 
exchange of people, just ordinary people, students, tourists, visitors and 

“Ordinary people are the backbone of that valuable cooperation for the two 

In his one-and-half years in Zimbabwe, Kwang-chul observed that the 
transition government has made progress which he said was sufficient to lead 
towards national consensus in resolving socio-economic and political issues.

“My observation is that your country is moving in the right direction.

“I would want to see all these complicated procedures move on peacefully, 
non violent, smoothly and to see a united people.

“I want to see Zimbabwe united even though you have to run this very 
difficult process.

“Unity from own experience, is quite important for the country to move 
ahead,” said Kwang-chul.
‘Bring us on board, we will light you!’ 

Cash-strapped Zesa losing plot on free bulbs

Cash-strapped Zesa losing plot on free bulbs

Saturday, 27 October 2012 00:00
View Comments
Zesa appears to be spending around US$6,1 million on free light bulbs for 
consumers, most of whom do not pay their inflated bills, while it slows down 
on the spread of pre-paid meters. It all seems very odd. Of course energy 
saving fluorescent bulbs will save a lot of energy. Zesa reckons it could 
save 200MW as darkness falls, enough to keep Bulawayo lit up. But the saving 
will not be so great, unfortunately, simply because many households already 
use these bulbs and so much of the expected savings have already been made. 
Consumers are not stupid. They can see the savings almost immediately.
What may have made a little bit of sense a few years ago, now makes no sense 
at all. The energy-saving bulbs are hardly new technology. A variety of 
makes are readily available on all supermarket shelves and cost around twice 
as much as equivalent tungsten filament bulbs. People have been buying them.
Some other utilities did give out free bulbs years ago, but just one to a 
household to prove that the new bulbs did produce decent light and were 
quite safe. Most countries did what Zimbabwe should have already done and 
which it can do right now: they banned the manufacture and import of 
filament bulbs and stocks on shelves soon ran out, leaving just the 
fluorescent bulbs and now the first LED bulbs that are likely to become the 
standard within a few years.
Some countries, with factories pouring out the old filament bulbs, had to 
tread carefully as they brought in the bans, giving enough notice to 
industrialists so factories could be converted.
But those, like Zimbabwe, which never made the old-fashioned bulbs simply 
announced an import ban and watched as consumers quickly converted as the 
short-life tungsten bulbs expired. The utilities achieved their desired 
conversion without spending a cent.
Zesa and its parent energy ministry could do exactly the same. Zimbabwe has 
laws that allow the Government to either ban specific imports or to impose 
such high duties that the undesired item becomes too expensive.
Why has Zesa not pushed for such an import ban? The case is good so it would 
not need much more than a Minister phoning another Minister.
The money saved from an ill-considered policy to give some households a 
free-gift could be put towards some of the programmes Zesa keeps telling us 
it desperately needs. Not all households will benefit; those that have 
already switched will get nothing except the contempt of Zesa staff, a 
strange reward for taking Zesa advice.
Zesa has already paid US$2 million for 1,8 million bulbs that are not in 
short supply and plans to spend another US$4,11 million on the rest of what 
seem a huge order.
That US$6 million could have been spent on a lot of other things that would 
reduce consumption, like the pre-paid meters just about every consumer wants 
desperately, so desperately that there are rumours, probably untrue, that 
Zesa staff are taking hefty bribes to let a consumer jump the queue.
But the rumour-mongering is a sign of frustration over delays and a sign 
that people really want Zesa to move faster on the meters.
But with warehouses bulging with the new bulbs and more no doubt on order, 
what is Zesa to do?
They can quickly do something right. They can get the law used to ban 
imports of filament bulbs, so achieving the desirable end of seeing these 
phased out and they can sell their fluorescent bulbs to wholesalers and 
shops at a little more than cost price and get their money back.
They can then use that money to buy stuff they are short of. They do not 
need to compound a silly and expensive mistake by insisting on repeating it. 

Mozambique to boost power supplies: ZESA

Mozambique to boost power supplies: ZESA

14/10/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

ZESA has reduced its debt with Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa from US$76 
million to just under US$3 million over the last six months with officials 
saying this would help improve power supplies across the country.

Zimbabwe needs about 2,200 megawatts of electricity at peak consumption but 
ZESA generates just below 1,300 megawatts and plugs the gap with imports 
from the regional suppliers.

The utility has been forced to ration power to both domestic and commercial 
users after supplies from the region were cut over mounting debts.

However, ZESA spokesman, Fullard Gwasira said reduction the Hydro Cahora 
Bassa debt to about US$2.7 million would see the company boosting supplies. 
ZESA expects to pay up the debt by year end.

“Load-shedding is going to be signif­icantly reduced as Cahora Bassa have 
increased their supply to us as we have almost cleared the debt we owe 
them,” he said.

“The challenge we have is that we are splitting our resources between two 
equally important areas.
“First we have to pay for the electricity we are importing on a daily basis 
while sec­ondly some money also has to be chan­nelled towards clearing the 

“It’s a matter of tackling two issues at the same time, but we are confident 
that we would have cleared the debt by the end of the year.”

ZESA’s financial troubles have also been worsened by customers failing to 
pay their bills. The utility says it is owed about US$500 million.

“With the introduction of pre-paid meters, the era of a consumers using 
elec­tricity and then failing to honour their bills will be a thing of the 
past,” Gwasira said.

Energy Minister, Elton Mangoma, has also revealed that several new projects 
are also planned to help boost the country’s power generation capacity.

Early this year, Mangoma said a French consortium had been granted a licence 
to build a 2,000 MW thermal power plant in an investment worth about US$3 

The power station will be situated at Binga’s Lusulu coal fields which are 
said to have an estimated 1,2 billion tonnes of coal reserves.

And last month, Chinese firm Guangdong Bureau of Coal Geology also announced 
plans to invest $3.5 billion to build a 1,200 megawatt thermal power plant. 

Outcry as ZESA continues disconnections over unpaid bills

Outcry as ZESA continues disconnections over unpaid bills

By Tichaona Sibanda
09 October 2012

There has been huge outcry from ZESA consumers countrywide following the 
power utility’s ongoing program to cut off supplies from those with 
outstanding bills.

Two months ago, Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma ordered 
ZESA to stop disconnecting all consumers with unpaid bills, until it had 
installed prepaid meters. It is hoped that the meters will put an end to 
ZESA’s estimated billing system that thousands of consumers have said do not 
reflect their actual power usage.

The power utility is in the process of rolling out prepaid meters in all 
domestic and business premises, and it expects that in 10 months time 600 
000 customers will have the meters installed. Currently only 19 000 
customers have the new service.

But in apparent defiance of the minister and government’s directive, ZESA 
has been disconnecting power to thousands of defaulting domestic and 
commercial consumers in the past few weeks. The state controlled Herald 
reported that several households and businesses countrywide, including those 
at growth points, have been disconnected.

Mangoma has urged those being disconnected to report to his ministry.

Customers owe the power utility more than $600 million. Many have bills 
averaging between $500 and $1 000, accumulated since the introduction of 
multiple currency system.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa reported that despite Mangoma’s 
directive, ZESA has not stopped disconnecting power to consumers with 
outstanding bills.

He said the problem is that consumers with outstanding bills have not taken 
up ZESA’s advice to negotiate methods of payment with the power utility.

“This is nothing new in Harare, ZESA has not stopped cutting off power for 
months, they do it everyday as long as you owe them money in unpaid bills,” 
Muchemwa reported.

“But if you approach the company and work out a repayment plan, they will 
not cut off power to your household or business premise,” Muchemwa added.

Muchemwa said that such arrangements are understood to have been made by 
high level government defaulters, who were singled out in a report this year 
as not paying their bills. This information was received with anger by 
regular consumers, who complained that the power utility was only 
disconnecting them and not government officials.

Cabinet restores Kariba’s US$700m power tender

Cabinet restores Kariba’s US$700m power tender

October 5, 2012 in News

CABINET on Tuesday reversed a decision by the State Procurement Board (SPB) 
to cancel the tender for Kariba South’s US$700 million expansion programme 
which had been awarded to Chinese firm Sino-Hydro.

Report by Staff Writer

Sino-Hydro was the sole bidder for the project, but had failed to win the 
tender after disagreements with the SPB over a site visit certificate and 
bid bond which is issued as part of a bidding process by the surety to the 
project owner, to guarantee that the winning bidder would honour the 
contract under the terms on which it bid.

Sources said the Chinese firm’s bid was restored after stormy debates in 
Cabinet on Tuesday.

Before cabinet overruled the SPB’s decision to cancel the Sino-Hydro tender, 
Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma had complained of the 
cancellation saying it was unfortunate that flimsy reasons were being given 
as the basis for cancellation of such an important national project.

Once fully operational, the Kariba South plant is expected to provide an 
additional 300 megawatts to the national grid by 2016, and commission a 
massive 800MW at the Batoka Gorge four years later if funding is secured.

Zimbabwe is only capable of generating about 1 200MW of the peak national 
demand of about 2 2000MW, and government’s decision to restore the deal is 
part of its efforts to curb a crippling power shortage that has stalked the 
country, particularly in the past five years.

The country’s industrial capacity utilisation stands at an official 60%, 
raising fears the power deficit would worsen should capacity utilisation 

Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority chairperson Canada Malunga last month 
said the new energy policy acknowledged the role of renewable energy sources 
and the power regulator was working on an Independent Power Producers policy 

The regulator has licensed various large electricity generation projects, 
investing in 11 new projects with a combined capacity of about 5 400MW 
valued at US$10 billion.

Zimbabwe’s power shortage has resulted in numerous outages for domestic and 
business consumers, affecting government projects aimed at helping boost 
economic revival.

Zimbabwe plans to raise power output to 10 000 megawatts in line with the 
National Energy Policy.

Zim power crisis sparks concern

Zim power crisis sparks concern

28 SEP 2012 11:43 - TAWANDA KAROMBO

As usage outstrips supply, electricity outages are hobbling the country's 
corporate sector, writes Tawanda Karombo.

Zimbabwe is pinning its hopes on measures such as a Chinese-funded power 
plant to boost the country's electricity generation capacity and offset a 
crippling energy supply situation.

The shortfall has led to escalating operational costs for several companies, 
many of which have been forced to resort to high-voltage diesel generators 
during extended power outages. The situation has been further compounded by 
rising consumption, which has in recent years outstripped supply.

The state power utility, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa), 
has instituted load-shedding to manage the growing supply-demand mismatch. 
This has led to suppressed production capacity for Zimbabwe's corporate 
sector, with industry, manufacturing and mining companies being the most 

A recent research report on Zimbabwe's electricity crisis by Business 
Monitor International (BMI) noted: "Zimbabwe is in the midst of an energy 
crisis. With peak energy consumption requirements of 2 200MW and domestic 
generating capacity of around 1300MW, outages are commonplace in the 

Tafadzwa Manyara, a local engineer, said that Zimbabwe "needs close to 2 
500MW, yet we are generating less than 1 500MW". Analysts blame the power 
utility for the country's electricity supply woes, but Zesa counters that 
corporate and individual consumers are not paying their bills. Powerful 
individuals, among them high-ranking government officials, are said to owe 
Zesa money.

Various initiatives are now underway to try to boost Zimbabwe's electricity 
generation capacity. Among these are plans by a Chinese company, the 
Guangdong Bureau of Coal Geology, to invest about $3.5billion to fund the 
construction of a 1200MW thermal power plant.

Indigenisation policy
Chinese investors receive special concessions from President Robert Mugabe's 
government and sources say they will not be required to cede a 51% majority 
shareholding to locals under the government's controversial indigenisation 
policy. Other foreign investors are buckling under government pressure to 
cede majority stakes to black Zimbabwean groups or risk being kicked out of 
the country without compensation.

Platinum miner Zimplats has had to advance a $25million loan facility to 
Zesa. The power company has used the money to reduce arrears it owes to 
Mozambique's Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa, enabling the resumption of 
electricity imports. In return, Zimplats will receive guaranteed power 
supplies for the next three years.

Other mining companies are reportedly paying more for guaranteed electricity 
supplies. However, most businesses in Zimbabwe have to deal with the regular 
power outages.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said that Zimbabwe is negotiating a 
$350million loan to expand the Kariba South power station to provide an 
additional 300MW of electricity.

Other reports suggested that a French investment consortium had been granted 
a licence to build a 2000MW thermal power plant in a deal reportedly worth 
about $3billion. Zimbabwe also has vast coal resources that could help to 
generate more power to offset the supply gap.

Engineer Manyara said the country needs to "invest in power generation" and 
"allow private players in the power generation field". He said there was 
also a need for a "good revenue collection strategy, like prepaid meters" 
and urged more usage of other energy sources such as natural gases, solar 
power, wind power and uranium.

Johannes Kwangwari, an economic analyst, said that additional operational 
costs incurred by companies running generators were forcing them to raise 
the prices of goods and commodities. "The companies have to recover their 
costs, and the ultimate impact will be on inflation and price distortions," 
he said.

Researchers at BMI, however, said that Zimbabwe's overall power generation 
will increase by an annual average of 12.6% between now and 2016, to reach 
16.23 terawatt hours. "The biggest contributor to this increase will be 
coal-fired power generation, which is to increase by an annual average of 
22.8% over this period" because of expansion at the Hwange thermal power 

"Hydropower generation is due to increase by a much more modest 3% per 
annum, despite increased capacity planned for the Kariba South hydroelectric 
plant and a new plant planned on the Gairezi River. However, this growth in 
energy provision will not be enough to grant Zimbabwe energy 
self-sufficiency," the report noted. 

IDBZ raises US$60m for Zesa’s meters

IDBZ raises US$60m for Zesa’s meters

September 21, 2012 in Business
THE Industrial Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) is raising US$60 million 
to partner the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) in the ongoing 
implementation of the prepaid metering project, IDBZ acting director Alex 
Machimbirike said.

Report by Staff Writer

He said US$30 million would be raised through IDBZ infrastructure bonds and 
syndication arrangements.

Under the scheme, Zesa plans to install 600 000 prepaid meters countrywide 
as part of the first stage to effectively phase out its conventional 
shambolic post payment billing system which resulted in it accumulating more 
than US$600 million in unpaid bills.

Zesa last week began rolling out pre-paid meter system in Harare and the 
project is expected to spread to other parts of the country next year.

Zimbabwe continues to battle with power deficits and currently generates 
1000 MW against a demand of 2200 MW, hence the resultant erratic power 
supply hampering local industry.

Machimbirike said his bank has so far disbursed US$58 million towards the 
refurbishment of Hwange, Kariba, Harare, Munyati and Bulawayo power stations 
in order to up power generation.
What exacerbates power deficits in Zimbabwe are lack of maintenance of 
ageing equipment and lack of investment in the sector.

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera), however, last week 
announced that it had licensed electricity generation projects worth US$10,1 
billion, a development likely to address the power deficit in the 

Zera said the licensed projects would have capacity to bring in 5 400 MW 
onto the national grid.

The projects would use mini-hydro, biogas, wood waste, coal-fired and solar 

The energy regulator said it licensed a 250 MW solar project worth US$750 
million, which is currently at the development phase.

Four investors had been licensed to develop coal-fired electricity in 
projects worth US$9,3 billion.

The projects include RioZim’s Sengwa, Essar and China Africa.

Border Timbers has also injected US$1,6 million for a woodwaste project 
which will bring in 500KW for the group’s own use.

The three biogas projects to generate 96MW are in Triangle, Hippo Valley and 

Plans are still on the cards to expand capacity at Batoka to 800MW by 2020 
and Kariba South to 300MW by 2016.

Zera is assisting the development of the Renewable Energy Policy framework 
and drafting the Feed-in-Tariff framework for renewable energy technologies.

The energy regulator is also working on the Energy Efficiency Policy 
framework to advise both producers and consumers to ensure optimisation of 
energy resources.

Bulawayo fights to reclaim power station

Bulawayo fights to reclaim power station

Saturday, 15 September 2012 13:44
BULAWAYO - Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has intensified efforts to regain 
control of the city’s thermal power station.

The Bulawayo power plant was arbitrarily expropriated by the Zimbabwe 
Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) more than two decades ago after the 
amalgamation of all the Local Authority Electricity Undertakings.

Amen Mpofu, Bulawayo deputy mayor, told residents who had questioned him why 
the BCC was not taking over the power station so as to improve the power 
supply situation in the city while also generating essential revenue from it 
that council was “seriously looking” into the issue to ensure Zesa “renders 
Caesar what belongs to Caesar”.

“The delay in taking over power station is political, but let me assure you 
that we are fighting hard to make sure that the power station is brought 
back to city council management,” said Mpofu said during budget breakfast 
consultative meeting in the city.

“As a city we want our power station which was arbitrarily expropriated from 
us back. It may take a little of time to get it back but I am sure we are 
going to win that battle as we are seriously looking at the issue,” the 
deputy mayor said.

According to the latest council minutes, the local authority has also 
ordered an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the take over of 
the power station.

BCC also wants to know why Zesa had stopped paying annual royalties to the 
council and why it did not compensate council for the takeover of the power 

“The financial director explained that Zesa did not compensate council for 
the takeover of Bulawayo power station, but records show that at one point 
council was receiving royalties from Zesa. Zesa had unilaterally 
discontinued this, the matter is now being investigated,” reads part of the 

BCC has also accused Zesa of failing to manage and maintain the station, 
which often breaks down and fails to provide power to industry.

Early this year, Zesa disconnected electricity at Tower Block and the city 
council over a $20 million plus debt.

The power cut incensed council and ratepayers alike, prompting the 
reclamation measures.

Mpofu said the issue of reclaiming power stations from Zesa by local 
authorities was not peculiar to Bulawayo.

Zimbabwe targets 10,00MW power grid

Zimbabwe targets 10,00MW power grid

15/09/2012 00:00:00
by Mining Weekly

ZIMBABWE is continuing to invest in new power generation capacity to close 
its supply gap, officials from the energy regulatory authority and national 
power supplier told delegates at the yearly Mining Indaba in Harare on 

Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) chairperson Canada Malunga said 
the government had launched its National Energy Policy (NEP) last week, 
outlining the strategies and measures for increasing electricity capacity.

Zimbabwe has set a target of 10 000 MW of installed capacity by 2040 to 
support a vision of growing the economy to $100-billion.

The NEP called for a capacity expansion of 800 MW at the Batoka Gorge 
hydropower power station by 2020, 300 MW at the Kariba South hydroelectric 
power station by 2016, as well as other smaller hydropower plants.

Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) MD Noah Gwariro said the national electricity 
supplier’s immediate goals were to invest $900-million in existing plants to 
increase dependable capacity, as stipulated by the NEP. ZPC would extend the 
Hwange power station’s capacity by 600 MW.

The ZPC would also invest $2-billion in new generation projects, including 
the construction of a 30 MW Gairezi hydropower plant, the development of the 
Lupane gasfields for a 350 MW plant and a $500-million transmission 
integration project.

Gwariro said the development projects were at an advanced stage and would 
add 900 MW to Zimbabwe’s power mix by 2016.

Hwange and Kariba South were currently between 80% and 90% complete, with 
Lupane standing at about 10%.

Meanwhile, Malunga said the NEP also outlined the role of independent power 
producers (IPPs), public-private partnerships and joint ventures in the 
expansion of electricity capacity.

The NEP further acknowledged the role of renewable-energy technologies and 
Malunga said Zera was working on an IPP policy framework to be considered by 
government and assisting in the development of a renewable energy policy 
framework and drafting the feed-in tariff framework for renewable energy 

The regulator has licensed various large electricity generation projects, 
investing in 11 new projects with a combined capacity of 5 400 MW and value 
of $10.1-billion.

Malunga pointed out that all the new projects were looking at trading in the 
Southern African Power Pool (SAPP). “Zera works closely with SAPP in 
coordination of regional power generation projects for optimisation of 
available resources in the region,” he noted.

Malunga said that sufficient power supply was important to ensuring growth 
in Zimbabwe’s mining sector, which had been identified by the country’s 
Medium Term Plan as one of the main pillars in its recovery process. “Mining 
operations are energy intensive and consume 14% of electricity in Zimbabwe.”

Residents angry with Zesa estimate bills

Residents angry with Zesa estimate bills

Sunday, 02 September 2012 10:08
HARARE - Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) in the public interest and in the 
fulfilment of its vision of a free and prosperous citizenry continued to 
receive reports from residents owing to the continued use of estimated 
billing instead of actual meter readings to reflect actual consumption.

Residents are concerned with the operations of the Zimbabwe Electricity 
Distribution Company (ZETDC), as the billing authority. “This has left the 
majority of the populace in debt, given the social and economic hardships.”

Widespread power disconnections have followed across Harare, including some 
buildings in the Central Business District.

During the first two weeks of August 2012, the HRT recorded 180 cases of 
residents whose electricity had been disconnected, with the majority of 
these cases based on estimated bills.

As a success, the HRT has been able to have these cases re-evaluated to 
reflect actual consumption as residents are being trained to read their own 

“The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has not satisfactorily 
explained how residents’ bills have continued to rise above their incomes 
and capacities.

“The HRT urges Zesa to immediately review the bills of the residents 
downwards to reflect actual consumption and the capacity or ability of the 
recipients of the services to pay,” said HRT.

The residents’ body urged Zesa’s public relations officials to be available 
when they are needed to address residents’ concerns within communities.

“HRT strongly advocates for the complete reduction of the debts owed to 
ZETDC by the residents.

In line with the HRT objective Number three “to facilitate engagement among 
council officials, service providers and the citizenry to improve the 
standards of living in Harare Metropolitan Province”, the organisation will 
continually endeavour to seek and facilitate dialogue between ZETDC and the 
residents in order to reach a common understanding in pursuit of an 
efficient electricity provision system.

“Also in line with objective Number four to “monitor and audit the 
performance of service providers so that they deliver quality and affordable 
services to the citizenry”, the HRT will continue to closely monitor how the 
national power utility provides services to its customers to ensure 
accountability and value for money for the residents. A transparent billing 
system is a must if electricity consumers are going to pay up their bills.”

Below is a summarised brief on the provision of electricity and its 
distribution in the various suburbs within Harare based on information 
provided by HRT Community Coordinators and the various suburban residents’ 

Waterfalls: Uplands, Picnic Park, Hilton Park, Cheviot and Shortson areas 
experience electricity power outages from 0510 hours or 0600 hours in the 
morning to around 1300 hours.

When there is no electricity in the morning it will be back in the afternoon 
or it is vice-versa.

The electricity is usually cut off for seven hours. Residents are forced to 
buy paraffin which costs US$1,15 per litre and firewood which costs $1 for 
four pieces.

Mbare: Power outages are usually experienced for five hours in Mbare 
National, Jourburg Lines, Nenyere and Mbare flats.

At Matapi hostels, there is rarely load shedding because they are 
interconnected to Matapi Police Station and home industrial areas.

Hatfield: Residents have always been satisfied with supplies. However, in 
the past three weeks, electricity supplies have been cut off in excess of 
four hours daily.

Borrowdale/Mount Pleasant: An improvement has been noted by most residents 
but they require Zesa to follow a known timetable.

The residents are sometimes switched off for an hour or for five hours then 
switched on.

Greendale, Mandara, Highlands and Chisipite — Improvements have been noted 
by residents.

Duration of load shedding has been reduced from eight to five hours per day 
in the last week.

Residents are mainly complaining due to increased expenditure on fuels for 
their generators and firewood and paraffin in place of electricity.

Tashinga — Electricity outages are experienced from 0500 hours to 1300 hours 

Dzivarasekwa — The area experience power outages for averagely four hours.

Kuwadzana Extension — There is an average of eight hours without electricity 
every day.

Kuwadzana — an average of eight hours to 9 hours without electricity.

Warren Park — Power outages averagely eight hours a day.

Highfield, Jerusalem and Egypt — During weekdays there are power outages 
from are experienced from 9am to 2pm and on particular days load shedding is 
experienced between 2pm and 9pm.

The load shedding at times alternates between the two suburbs.

Glen View — Electricity is available from 8pm to 9am on Monday, Wednesday 
and Friday but on Tuesdays and Thursdays there is electricity supply during 
the day from 9 am to 6pm.

Glen Norah A — Electricity is supplied four hours during the day and power 
cuts are experienced twice or thrice a day, increasing the risk to people 
and damage of electrical gadgets.

Glen Norah B — There is load shedding from 2pm to 10pm during the day.

Budiriro 4 — Load shedding is experienced twice a day from 6am to 12pm and 
from 2pm to 8pm during weekdays.

Budiriro 3 — There is no supply during the day from 6am to 8pm especially 
during weekdays.
Mufakose — Electricity has been supplied consistently from the first week of 

Concern over ZESA debts overshadows prepaid meter rollout

Concern over ZESA debts overshadows prepaid meter rollout

By Alex Bell
29 August 2012

Disgruntled customers of Zimbabwe’s power utility have said they are 
concerned that their outstanding debts, based on years of inaccurate power 
bills, will still be owed as the company rolls out prepaid meters.

The prepaid meter exercise was officially launched at Machipisa shopping 
centre in Harare on Tuesday and the country’s power supply authority, ZESA, 
plans to install 600,000 meters countrywide. This will form part of phase 
one of the operation, which will ultimately help the parastatal dispose of 
its current billing system.

ZESA has earned the ire of most of its consumers by issuing bills based on 
estimates, insisting it never had the money to send out meter readers. Their 
system has proved unreliable, and many people have been billed for far more 
than they use.

This has not stopped ZESA from disconnecting its users who have not paid 
their bills, with the only exceptions being top government officials. This 
includes the Mugabe family, whose outstanding bill at the end of last year 
was reportedly more than US$300, 000.

Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma has now tried to 
reassure ZESA customers that they will not be switched off. But he said 
their debt will be incorporated under the pre-paid meter scheme.

“All those who were disconnected for non-payment can now be connected to 
prepaid meters without making a down-payment for the reconnection fee, while 
20% of the money used to buy electricity will be applied towards the 
reduction of the debt until it is fully paid,” Mangoma said at Tuesday’s 
launch of the pre-paid meters.

Precious Shumba, the Director of the Harare Resident’s Trust, said the long 
term benefits of pre-paid meters will be welcome to the public. But he said 
ZESA has in no way taken into account the “unreasonable and unjustified 
debts based on their previous bills.”

“People are being asked to pay off huge debts accrued using unjustified 
billing systems. ZESA should recalculate the outstanding bills based on 
actual usage once the meters have been installed,” Shumba said.

SW Radio Africa was unable to contact Minister Mangoma or ZESA for comment.

Zimbabwe's energy crisis

Zimbabwe's energy crisis

Vince Musewe
28 August 2012

Vince Musewe says country stopped investing in new generation capacity in 

Zimbabwe energy crisis: African solutions to an African problem?

Government has a reputation of structuring policy around individuals and no 
wonder why for 28 years, we have had free riders in the energy ministry.

A couple of weeks back, the Minister of Energy, Elton Mangoma, informed us 
on what he is doing to fix the energy crisis in Zimbabwe. I have studied his 
speech and must comment on it especially on his short term solutions.

I note that it is since 1984, that Zimbabwe stopped investing in new 
generation capacity in the energy sector. That was only 4 years after 
independence meaning that for 28 years, no body anticipated that the system 
would someday break down or be inadequate to meet our needs. This means that 
for 28 years, even though we have had a minister occupying the energy 
portfolio, he has been getting paid for doing nothing. Well there is no 
revelation in that statement.

Now hear this, the Hwange power station has been operating much below 
capacity (between 300 and 500MW) out of a potential capacity of 900MW. Those 
responsible for fixing the problem forgot to fix ancillary machinery while 
focusing on the rotor and now that the rotor is fixed, they must still 
attend to the ancillary equipment. As a result we still have low capacity 
utilization of the power station.

Clearly we have had serious mismanagement from all those involved including 
ZESA. The minister alludes to this fact whether ZESA is likely be an 
acceptable partner in the purchasing of solar generated power from 
independent power producers. In my opinion, the old model with ZESA in the 
middle has caused so much pain for everyone and its time we came up with 
innovative and more efficient distribution model especially for solar power 
generation and distribution. In my view restructuring and chunking ZESA, as 
the minister announced, will not change the nature of the beast. It merely 
means we will have more egos involved more perks to pay and more jobs for 

On the issue of solar panels for homes, I think that it is a good idea to 
ensure that these are affordable. I do think however, that we continue to 
seriously under rate the solar power solution. We need to be more aggressive 
in the use of solar power both for residential and industrial use.

For example, the ministry of energy can put in an incentive for homes to 
convert. For example, write off an agreed cost of a home solar power system 
against any debt owed to ZESA or provide a subsidy? We could also make it 
law that any new residential developments must have solar water heating 
systems as water heating is a significant cost. Where possible, we must 
encourage homes to be completely off grid thus reducing the demand at all 
times and not just during the day as the minister suggests.

In the case of companies, they can invest in solar power plants and be able 
to, for example, get tax benefits for doing so or sell that power back to 
the grid.

On the issue if locally manufactured solar lamps for US$10, which is 
commendable because I have seen some imported lamps being sold for US$ 40! 
There has been significant profiteering in this sector and we need to 
intervene and save the poor from unscrupulous suppliers. We must encourage 
local manufacture of these and create jobs as the minister intends.

Prepaid meters result in energy saving while improving cash flow for power 
suppliers. Al though they are not that easy to manage for those that are 
unable to budget and do not have consistent income, which is the case for 
most Zimbabweans, they remove doubt and suspicions as long as the company 
that manages them is a credible one. Minister, why did we have to include 
foreign companies in this process? Surely there are enough qualified 
Zimbabweans who can run prepaid meter platforms?

There is still some education necessary when it comes to domestic use of 
gas. I noted that those in the townships re reverting to paraffin which is 
sad development. Again here I see that a Zambian has been appointed to 
assist us? There are millions of qualified Zimbabwean engineers in the 
Diaspora who can surely do the research and come up with the necessary 

Overall I think the minister has done his home work but it is very important 
that we find quick short term solutions and he cannot do this on his own 
without users contributing to save energy.

The fundamental challenge we face is that of information and awareness 
within our communities on the importance of energy to our well being as a 
country. Energy saving must be a community driven campaign and I see nothing 
on that front in the ministers plans.

Last but not least is the use of CFLs' in Zimbabwe. I am led to believe that 
these contain mercury and are harmful to the environment. LED lighting is 
the new way and shouldn't we go that route now to avoid unnecessary future 

I do hope that in the event that if the minister is promoted in the future, 
we do get some continuity in policy on whoever takes over. Government has a 
reputation of structuring policy around individuals and no wonder why for 28 
years we have had free riders in the ministry.

Vince Musewe is an independent economist currently in Harare and you may 
contact him on  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Zimbabwe's forests go up in smoke amid energy crisis

Zimbabwe's forests go up in smoke amid energy crisis



Wed, 15 Aug 2012 13:19 GMT

Source: Alertnet // Madalitso Mwando

Zimbabwean children carry firewood on their heads near a slum in Hatcliffe, Harare, Dec. 9, 2008. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

By Madalitso Mwando

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe (AlertNet) – Pensioner Thandazani Ndlovu earns his living selling firewood, making him better off than Zimbabwe’s millions of jobless.

From the back of his pick-up truck, he has established a thriving business as demand for firewood continues to grow in Bulawayo, a city of 2 million people in the southwest.

Residents are turning to wood for cooking and heating as Zimbabwe’s electricity outages get worse, with its energy utility battling to keep the lights on in urban areas.

As winter began, the state-owned power company announced in June it was increasing its load-shedding schedule - music to Ndlovu’s ears.

He operates in the crowded streets of Bulawayo’s townships, where preparing food over a fire has become a daily reality.

“On a good day, I can make $20,” Ndlovu says. “I get the firewood from farms on the outskirts of the city where resettled farmers are clearing the land to build their homes.”

With 56 percent of Zimbabweans living on less than $1.25 a day and unemployment as high as 80 percent, many people regard trees - even those on residential properties - as a potential source of income.

Concerned with making a comfortable living, Ndlovu doesn’t worry that he and other firewood vendors might be contributing to deforestation in the southern African nation.

With no respite from the energy crisis, up to 90 percent of Zimbabweans now rely on firewood for cooking, a huge leap from around 50 percent two decades ago, according to non-governmental organisation Environment Africa.

Some 70 percent of the population resides in rural areas, where firewood has long been the primary source of energy.

“I have never thought about the implications of cutting down trees. What I know is that another tree will grow, because our ancestors found these trees there,” Ndlovu says.

It is a common response to recent campaigns launched by the government and environmental groups to curb uncontrolled logging.


The parastatal Forestry Commission estimates deforestation at around 330,000 hectares per year. Between 1990 and 2010, Zimbabwe lost more than 30 percent of its forest cover, according to commission data.

As its forests shrink, Zimbabwe has yet to confront the far-reaching ramifications of its energy crisis.

“It’s one of the challenges that has the ministry (of environment) in a tough spot because you cannot tell people to stop cutting down trees without providing a solution to their energy demands,” explains Kurauone Muringapi, a field researcher for the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management.

“There is no doubt that, despite not being an industrialised country, our contribution to carbon emission concerns increases when there are no forests to talk about,” he adds.

Gilmore Sadza, an environmental consultant working with the ministry, says the government has been slow to join international efforts to combat deforestation.

“The wanton cutting-down of trees was ignored around the year 2000 when people moved into white farms and conservation areas,” Sadza said.

“Climate change was never seen as an urgent matter, but at least now we are seeing some moves to address it, despite the obvious challenges,” he said.

In 2011, officials began crafting a comprehensive climate change policy in collaboration with the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), which is funded by the British and Dutch governments.

And last month, the ministry gazetted new, stringent regulations on illegal logging in a move to curb deforestation. Among others, they target farmers who have been fingered for some of the worst abuses of Zimbabwe’s forests.

The country will also have to deal with the consequences of smoke and other emissions from domestic cooking fires, as well as wildfires which have become an annual phenomenon here.


Zimbabwe’s carbon footprint, like that of many African nations, remains tiny compared with developed countries.

Nonetheless, its current energy crisis could contribute to climate shifts that will affect future generations – not least because cutting down forests means fewer trees to store carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas causing global warming.

Zimbabwe is already seeing changes in the patterns of its seasons, lower rainfall and higher temperatures. But strategies to reverse deforestation could help reduce the risk of these trends getting worse, believes Simon Gapare, a Zimbabwean environmental researcher based in the United States.

“It’s time initiatives like the National Tree Planting Day were taken seriously. If you ask anyone you know if they have ever planted a tree, you will be disappointed,” he says.

On the first Saturday of December each year, Zimbabwe marks National Tree Planting Day, with the president leading the commemorations.

“Many people don’t bother about these things, but solutions to climate change do not reside in conferences or textbooks, but right among us – (in) our own practices relating to how we treat the natural resources around us. Planting a tree is one such solution,” Gapare argues.

The private sector has also started to launch reforestation initiatives.

For example, Nyaradzo Funeral Services, a company based in the capital Harare with branches across the country, plants a tree for each burial it conducts and gives families trees to plant after relatives’ funerals. It is hoping to plant 500 million trees by 2025.

For firewood vendors like Ndlovu, participating in reforestation efforts could prove profitable in the long run. But with customers lining up to get their hands on an increasingly valuable source of energy, the issue of whether the business is sustainable isn’t a priority for most.

“This is my way of life - as long as there is demand for firewood, I will keep selling,” Ndlovu says.

Madalitso Mwando is a journalist based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

ZPC urges industry to work at night

ZPC urges industry to work at night

August 12, 2012 in Business

By Kudzai Chimhangwa
THE Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) has urged the manufacturing industry to 
take advantage of the excess power available at night after peak power 
demand hours for production.
Speaking at a media briefing last week ZPC chairman Richard Maasdorp said 
industry must take advantage of the abundant electricity available during 
the night to produce goods and commodities without disruptions.

“This will go a long way towards saving the energy available and providing 
industry with the electrical power they need,” he said.

Manufacturing companies have for long bemoaned the incessant power cuts 
saying they were disruptive to their business.

Speaking at the same event ZPC general manager for projects, Engineer 
Washington Mareya said the company had embarked on expansion projects for 
the Hwange and Kariba South Extension un

its in a bid to meet current and future electricity demand.

However, funding has proved to be a major hurdle as investment has not been 

Mareya said Zimbabwe faced an acute power shortage which dates back to the 
year 1992 when the country began facing a net power deficit.

“The situation worsened in the year 2007 when the Southern African Power 
Pool also began facing a net energy deficit,” he said.

“Because our demand far outstrips our generation capacity, it is imperative 
that we embark on an aggressive generation expansion drive in order to meet 

The projects are being implemented in four phases namely review phase, 
engineering phase, construction and commissioning phase and the warranty 

Hwange 7 and 8 units are expected to be upgraded to 600 MegaWatts (MW) at a 
cost of US$1,83 billion while the Kariba South 7 and 8 units would be 
upgraded to 300MW at a cost of US$771 million.

However, funding has continued to be a major stumbling block towards the 
timely completion of projects.

Mareya said that the mini-hydro power plants would be prioritised under 
public-private partnerships.

These include the Gairezi to produce 30MW at US$90 million, Mutirikwi to 
produce 5MW at US$10 million and Manyuchi to produce 1,4MW at US$3 million.

The review phase which involved feasibility studies was completed as at June 
2011 while the engineering phase started concurrently with part of phase 1.

“Evaluation of tender documents is in progress and selection of suitable 
contractors is expected to be finalised in October 2012. Contract 
negotiations are expected to be concluded in December 2012 to January 2013,” 
he said.
The construction and commissioning phase is expected to begin around mid- 
2013 and is projected to take three and half to four years.

The World Bank recently recommended that government launches an electrical 
power demand-side management programme designed to encourage consumers to 
use less energy during peak hours.

The bank also encouraged users to move the time of energy use to off-peak 
times such as nights and weekends.

The energy crisis has negatively affected the country’s hopes for a 
sustained economic growth, as load shedding and high tariffs have caused 
disruptions to productivity in the manufacturing and mining sectors.

Thermals at most of the power stations in the country are more than 40 years 
old while the last power station ever put up in the country was in the 

Power shortages to worsen: ZESA

Power shortages to worsen: ZESA

11/08/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has warned that power 
supply interruptions will increase over the next three months due to 
maintenance work at Hwange thermal power station.

The power station generates about 500MW but maintenance work to increase 
capacity would temporarily result in the loss of 160MW over the next three 
months, ZESA spokesman Fullard Gwasira.

“Zesa Holdings would like to advise all its customers countrywide that 
Hwange Power Station will be undergo­ing its scheduled mandatory statutory 
maintenance to ensure the continued operational efficiency of that 
gener­ating asset,” Gwasira said.

“The scheduled maintenance will com­mence on Satur­day 11 August 2012 
(yesterday) and be completed in November 2012. During this period, a total 
of 160 MW will be lost to the national grid.”
Gwasira said the ZESA was working to step up imports from the region to 
mitigate the supply interruptions.

Zimbabwe needs about 2,200 megawatts of electricity at peak consumption but 
generates just below 1,300 megawatts, while efforts to plug the gap with 
imports are often undermined by non-payment for supplies.
Supplies are currently being rationed between both commercial and domestic 

Although the government is planning various projects to step up power 
generation a senior official recently warned that the shortages would likely 
continue for another ten years.

"By 2022 that's when we will be able to generate enough power for domestic 
and industrial power. (But) most of our woes in terms of blackouts will end 
in 2015," Patson Mbiriri the permanent secretary for the energy minister 
told a recent industry conference.
Legislators recently expressed concern over the impact of power supplies 
shortages on the country’s struggling economy.

“We have failed to come up with indicators just to say there will be 
something in two years and in two years this country will have enough 
energy. Yet Cabinet meets every week, Ministers are in their offices every 
day and one wonders what is really happening,” said Goromonzi North MP Paddy 

“How do we turn around the economy with energy shortages? Mining, 
agriculture . . . all need energy. We are dealing with an economy that 
hinges its turnaround on agriculture and mining all need energy yet this was 
not addressed.” 

Contact Us

42 Bates Street,
Milton Park,
Harare, Zimbabwe.

P O Box WGT 390, Westgate, Harare, Zimbabwe.

phone  +263 4 790264 / 792757 / 790274
                   790277 / 790276

email  Email us here

Places  Find us on Google Maps