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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
“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
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
Greendale, Mandara, Highlands and Chisipite — Improvements have been noted
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
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
Mufakose — Electricity has been supplied consistently from the first week of
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
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
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
Zimbabwe's forests go up in smoke amid energy crisis
Wed, 15 Aug 2012 13:19 GMT
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.
THIRD OF FORESTS LOST
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
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
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,”
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
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
Zimplats lends ZESA US$25 million
by Roman Moyo
PLATINUM miner, Zimplats advanced a US$25 million loan to ZESA which the
power utility used to reduce its indebtedness to Mozambique’s Hidroelectrica
de Cahora Bassa, enabling the resumption of power imports.
The Mozambican company had cut supplies to Zimbabwe after ZESA failed to
reduce its mounting debt but the facility extended by Zimplats would enable
power imports to resume.
Zimplats said, in return, ZESA would guarantee power supplies to its
operations for three years.
“During the quarter, Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Private) Limited advanced a
$25 million loan to the power utility ZESA which was used to reduce the
utility's overdue indebtedness to Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa of
Mozambique in respect of power imports,” the company said in its latest
“The loan facility enabled Zimbabwe to resume power imports from Mozambique
to augment the country's constrained power generation.
“The loan principal and interest were converted into power units which will
be redeemed over three years. In return, Zimplats is guaranteed
uninterrupted power supplies for its operations for five years.
Meanwhile Zimplats posted a 52% drop in operating profit in the fourth
quarter to June, due to weaker platinum group metal prices.
The company said operating profit was $25m, down from $52m in the previous
quarter as metal prices were depressed during the period while operating
costs rose 17%, in line with higher sales volumes.
“Operating costs were 17% above previous quarter in line with the higher
sales volume. In addition, the first tranche of $3.3 million was paid to the
Community Share Ownership Trust in terms of an undertaking to make available
to the trust, $10 million over a three year period,” the company said.
“Royalties continue to be accounted for at the higher rates set in terms of
the Finance Act whilst the company awaits resolution of the dispute which is
currently before the courts. As a result of the above, operating profit
amounted to $25 million, 52% lower than the previous quarter.”
Zimplats, which is 87% controlled by Implats , said in March it had agreed
to a deal that would see it comply with Zimbabwe’s requirement that 51% of
shares in Zimplats be held by locals.
The firm said it was in discussions with the government over the
implementation of the ownership agreement.
“A Joint Technical Committee comprising Government of Zimbabwe
representatives and management has been set up to work through material
issues pertaining to the agreement. Discussions are on-going and
shareholders will be updated on major developments," the company said.
Zimbabwe power cuts to persist for 10 years: official
Zimbabwe power cuts to persist for 10 years: official
(AFP) – 6 hours ago
NYANGA, Zimbabwe — Energy-starved Zimbabwe will suffer longer and more
frequent power shortages for the next 10 years, a senior official said
The country's power utility will extend blackouts until it can boost
capacity, Patson Mbiriri, secretary for energy and power development, told
an annual congress of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.
"By 2022 that's when we will be able to generate enough power for domestic
and industrial power," Mbiriri said.
Zimbabwe needs about 2,200 megawatts of electricity at peak consumption but
generates just below 1,300 megawatts, while relying on imports to fill the
Due to ageing equipment, power generation is often disrupted following
breakdowns. In most cases, the generators operate below capacity.
In recent months, Zimbabwe could only afford to import 25 megawatts from
nearby countries after major electricity suppliers in the region turned off
the switches over non-payment of dues.
"Most of our woes in terms of blackouts will end in 2015," Mbiriri said.
Energy Minister Elton Mangoma recently said Zimbabwe has whittled its debt
to power providers to under $20 million from around $100 million in a bid to
There are plans to revamp the northern Kariba hydro-power station and the
Hwange thermal power station in the west of the country.
Power cuts hit mobile operators
Saturday, 21 July 2012 19:00
BY MOSES CHIBAYA
MOBILE operators say the use of generators to run base stations during power
cuts had increased operational costs, affecting their profit margins.
The country is experiencing debilitating power cuts as demand has
outstripped the generation capacity. The power utility is generating 1 100MW
against the required 2 200MW.
Giving oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media,
Information and Communication Technology last week, Econet CEO, Douglas
Mboweni, said the US$0,20c per minute tariff offered was arrived at after
factoring in all the costs involved. Mboweni said the major cost that was
driving their tariff up was fuel, used to run generators.
“Electricity is a huge cost to us, the cost of generators and the cost of
refilling is estimated at over US$15 million per year,” Mboweni said.
The Econet boss said about 72% of the network at any given time would be
running on generators.
In a separate presentation interview before the same committee, Telecel
chief executive officer, Francis Mawindi, concurred with Mboweni and also
bemoaned electricity woes as the major barrier.
ZESA employees suspended over salary fight
By Alex Bell
17 July 2012
More than 130 employees at the national power supply authority ZESA, have
been suspended, after threatening to strike last week over the utility’s
failure to award pay rises.
The Zimbabwe Energy Workers’ Union (ZEWU) a week ago issued an ultimatum to
ZESA and other private players, to either meet their demands or face a
nationwide strike. The workers want the salary increase that was meant to be
awarded to them after a legal dispute in June.
ZEWU President Angeline Chitambo told journalists in Harare last week the
Union grouping had resolved to embark on the strike, accusing ZESA chief
executive Josh Chifamba of not honouring an arbitration order from last
month. The order promised a new salary structure would be awarded to the
energy sector on June 18th.
But instead of honouring the order, ZESA has suspended 132 employees without
pay or benefits. The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), which
voiced solidarity with the energy workers, said: “Such a primitive and
barbaric way of handling labour disputes, reminiscent of the colonial era,
must be condemned with the contempt it deserves. We want to reiterate that
these workers have a legitimate expectation which must be respected both as
citizens and workers,” the PTUZ said.
Ministerial statement on power crisis
by Hon. Elton Mangoma
Ministerial Statement by Energy Minister Elton Mangoma to the House of
Assembly on measures being taken by the government to ease the country’s
power crisis. Delivered on Thursday, July 12, 2012:
Mr Speaker Sir, I have found it necessary to brief this House of elected
representatives on what we are doing in the Ministry to ease power outages
in the country.
Zimbabweans across the country and in all spheres; from housewives to
business people, have a sad story to tell about the power cuts they
experience every day in their homes and in the factories.
Mr Speaker Sir, it is the duty of government to explain the measures we are
taking to alleviate the plight of the people. The solution might not come
tomorrow, but the people of Zimbabwe deserve to know that we are working
flat out to mitigate the situation which deteriorated way back due to
non-investment in this critical sector. There was no way we could resolve in
three years a decay process that began decades ago.
Nevertheless, I rise to make public our efforts in redressing this national
It is a challenge that has affected a cross section of people from the big
corporates in Harare and Bulawayo to clinics and health centres in
Chendambuya and Gokwe; from schools in Filabusi to the ordinary power
consumers in Budiriro and Pumula.
Mr Speaker Sir, it is no laughing matter; but they say the most popular
words in Zimbabwe are “Magetsi auya”. As government and as a Ministry, we
are aware of the mammoth task before us and we want to assure you that we
will discharge of our national duty to the best of our ability.
The power supply in the country is inadequate leading to massive load
shedding in all the sectors. This is on the backdrop of:
# No new generation capacity having been created in the country since 1984.
# A serious shortage of capacity in the region because of increased demand
in their countries coupled with no new investment.
# Lack of maintenance, particularly from 1998 to 2009 leading to serious
degeneration of both Generation and Transmission and Distribution
# Low and unviable tariff over the past decade (some correction made in
# Low funding from Treasury and high level of debtors.
# The economic revival has put pressure on the demand for electricity and
particularly on domestic consumers, who had absorbed the electricity that
was available from Industry and Mining.
MEASURES BEING TAKEN
The measures being taken are divided into Generation capacity and supply
side activities, Demand Side Management and Institutional changes. All these
will work towards alleviating load shedding and increasing the power for
enhanced economic activities. The supply side is further split into short,
medium and long term measures.
GENERATION CAPACITY AND SUPPLY SIDE ACTIVITIES
Short term (900MW)
Optimisation of Hwange Power Station (250MW)
Mr Speaker Sir, Hwange Power Station has an installed capacity of 950MW. It
however has been producing between 300 to 500 MW. This is a result of poor
maintenance, and lack of alignment of the production facility.
For example, the stage two turbines (generations) have a capacity to
generate 220MW each, but the boilers are such that you can generate around
150MW. Improving the boilers can increase the capacity to 200MW each. Work
to identify what needs to be done is underway.
Poor maintenance management is exemplified by the current saga on units one
and two where we had the rotors down and management concentrated on getting
them fixed without attending to ancillary equipment at the same time. Now
the rotors have been repaired, but work on the stator only commenced last
month. Measures are being put in place to avoid such sloppiness including
skills enhancement and greater team work.
Repowering Small Thermals (120MW)
All the small thermals can produce, with constant coal supply 200MW,
compared to the current 60-80MW. Short term coal supplies can be increased
by more cooperation and minimal investment at Hwange Colliery Company (HCC),
so that they produce the required type of coal.
Immediate steps are being taken to modify the boilers, so that they can use
the same thermal coal as Hwange Power Station. This is an 18-month
programme. ESSAR will lease Munyati Power Station and they have indicated
that they can make it produce 140MW.
Gairezi Hydro (30MW)
ZPC has applied for a licence to construct the Gairezi hydro scheme. This is
estimated to cost $90 million and the project will take 18-24 months. The
licence will be issued this month and finances are being arranged. It will
be necessary to work with OPC to avoid the delays of the State Procurement
Lupane Coal Bed Methane (500MW)
Mr Speaker Sir, there is need to map and determine what resource there is in
Lupane. This is then followed with the construction of a gas fired plant in
Lupane. The first phase involves the drilling of exploratory wells. As soon
as these wells are drilled, instead of closing the wells or flaring the gas,
the gas will be directed to a series of machines that generate between
5-10MW. These machines will be hired from Agreko. It becomes possible to
generate electricity almost immediately after the wells are drilled.
After mapping and determination, a mining plan is then determined. The
mining plan is then executed taking into consideration the level of resource
and what it will be used for. The current proposed uses are electricity
generation and fertilizer production.
Mining can start immediately after resource mapping with the gas from the
mining wells also being directed to more hired machines. This term is called
Temporary Generation. These will only be removed after the commissioning of
the Permanent Plant.
There are three parties already interested in the resource mapping and
determination phase, who will do it on behalf of ZPC. Funding has already
been secured for this phase.
Solar Into Grid (100MW)
The main thing that makes solar technology more expensive is the need to
produce and store during the day for use at night, when you cannot produce.
The current situation is that electricity is short during the day so there
is no need to produce and store. Generating without storing will bring the
tariff to between 10c-12ckwh, which is within the current tariff structure.
Solar plants can be put up very quickly. Current discussions are centering
# Should this be one plant or a number of them.
# Signing of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to buy all the power produced
for a fixed period (consideration between 5-10 years).
The main issue is acceptability of Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and
Distribution Company as a party to the PPA.
Solar Panels on Homes
Mr Speaker Sir, we have currently agreed with a housing cooperative in
Mutare that they put solar panels as part of their roofs. The electricity so
generated will be used within their homes and the surplus fed into the grid.
At night the homes will then be supplied by ZESA. At the end of the month,
the account will then be settled depending on the power produced and
consumed. The flow of electricity will be measured using a Reverse Meter.
This policy can be extended to anyone although it may be more applicable to
new housing complexes as the panels will be part of the cost of the roof,
and therefore no extra investment required.
There is a programme under Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to produce
solar lamps locally targeted to retail at $10 or less. REA is working with
local industry to make sure there is significant value addition in this
project. It will then lead to localisation of technology and job creation.
Designs are at an advanced stage.
Treasury has provided $1,5m to this project, which will enable particularly
school children to buy these lamps in instalments. The lamps are earmarked
for rural schools. The involvement of industry means that a lot more solar
lamps can be produced for commercial purposes to be made available to the
generality of the public. These solar lamps are a good source of lighting
when the electricity goes out.
Mr Speaker Sir, Zimbabwe used to import as much as 500MW firm power from
SNEL, EDM, HCB and ZESCO. At the moment the only firm power is 100MW from
HCB. The demand for electricity within the region has been growing, to a
point now where whatever can be produced is utilised. The likely immediate
source of imports is EDC and HCB. Negotiations are underway.
Botswana is likely to commission a power plant soon. EDM is being persuaded
to export to us the power (50MW) they are currently exporting to Botswana.
Zambia is likely to commission Kariba North expansion next year and dialogue
is taking place now.
Mozambique is planning to do Temporary Generation at their Southern Gas
fields and this will add additional generation. We have registered our
interest. Payments done to reduce our debt make us worth considering.
DEMAND SIDE MANAGEMENT
The tender board awarded tenders to:
# Solahart Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd (Zim)
# Nyamezela Consulting Engineers cc (RSA)
# ZTE Corporation (China)
# Finmark Marketing (Pvt) Ltd (Zim)
These tenders exclude Harare and Bulawayo, which are the two places with the
greatest need. The tenders are for supply and fix. Contracts signed are to
ensure that those who quickly install their meters are allowed to install
additional ones so as to roll out as quickly as possible and not be held by
laggards purely on the basis that they won a tender. It is proposed to use
the same tender winners on the same performance basis for Harare and
The roll out is expected to start next month (June 2012) and be completed
within 10 months. The current prepaid meter platform is being upgraded to
handle different types and increased number of meters.
Prepaid Meter Platform Tender
Mr Speaker Sir, a tender was floated, adjudicated and awarded to REVMA. The
adjudication process was fraudulent. All other tenderers who proposed
external hosting were disqualified as it was a specific requirement that the
platform be based at ZETDC. The adjudicators knew but presented REVMA as a
direct supplier until the contract signing stage when REVMA wanted to be
paid 60 cents per transaction.
Discussions with State Procurement Board (SPB) indicated that REVMA had not
misrepresented their position, but that the adjudicators had falsely
misrepresented the facts. As a result SPB could not reverse their award. The
only recourse is for ZETDC to approach the Administrative Court for the
nullification. ZETDC has now been directed to approach the court. Any award
must now be based on those who show on the ground that they have a system
Compact Florescent Lamps (CFLs)
The contract for the supply of CFLs has finally been signed (21/05/12). It
is hoped that the first batch of one million lamps will be delivered on 30
June 2012. Installation of the lamps will commence around mid-July.
The installation of the 5,5 million lamps, estimated to be completed by
October 2012, will save evening peak electricity equivalent to 180MW.
Mr Speaker Sir, biogas is a sustainable, environmentally friendly source of
energy. It is mostly used for heating and cooking purposes, and thereby
releasing electricity for other purposes. A Zambian expert has been engaged
for the purposes of technology transfer through the construction of
prototype digesters. Three sites that have been identified are:
# Mbare Musika – Vegetable market
# Harare Hospital
# Roosevelt Girls High School
There is need to identify two other users covering:
# Farm environment
# Domestic dwelling
The work on all these prototypes is expected to commence in June.
Local constructors are expected to gain knowledge and insight into the
construction for future propagation. Treasury budgeted $1,5 million for this
purpose. The funds are sufficient to cover other educational and health
institutions in all the provinces. REA is the implementation agent.
The residue after the gas has been used is very good organic fertilizer.
Local industry is being involved in the manufacture/adaptation of gas
stoves. The cooking system at Harare Hospital will be completely revamped.
Hwange and Kariba Expansion Projects (900 MW)
Hwange (600MW) and Kariba (300MW) expansion projects are currently being
tendered for. The tenders are due to close on June 5, 2012. (Been advised
SPB moved closing date to July 3, 2012). There are now four (4) tenderers
for each project. The main issues to be considered are:
# The availability of funding to carryout projects. An alternative plan to
fund Kariba South expansion has reached an advance stage.
# The technology to be used to create the cavity at Kariba – the type of
blasting/drilling – due to the weak rock formation.
# The Ministry of Finance had written advising abandoning the tender process
at Kariba in favour of Sino hydro, following the agreement they signed with
China. It is recommended to carry through with the tender as scrapping it
now could cause legal complications and further delay the project.
The projects are expected to take around 48 months.
Hwange-Western Areas (1000MW)
Mr Speaker Sir, this is a new project that will result in the construction
of a coal fired power station in the Western Areas Coal fields. The Western
areas coal fields concession was granted to ZPC by Cabinet in July 2010 for
the purposes of attracting investors into power generation.
Promising negotiations are underway with China Railways International (CRI).
The main issues are:
# That the power plant will belong to ZPC 100%
# That a mining venture is formed between ZPC and CRI
# CRI will operate the power plant for the benefit of ZPC until the loan has
It is estimated that the power plant will take around 3-4 years to
construct, after a 6-12 month period of surveying and designing.
Independent Power Producers (IPPs)
A number of IPPs have been licensed. The three big projects are Sengwa
(2400MW) Lusulu(2000MW) and ESSAR (600MW).
Bindura Gas Plant (2200MW)
Mozambique has discovered vast natural gas quantities in the Rovuma Basin.
We have expressed our interest to have access to the natural gas.
The idea is to pipe the gas from Rovuma Basin, through the bridge at Tete to
Bindura. A gas fired power station is then constructed in Bindura and feed
into the Bindura-Songo transmission lines (This is similar to what Ghana has
done with the Nigerian Gas).
The gas pipeline then extends to Harare, where it will be piped to the
residential areas for cooking purposes, (like in most of the developed
countries). This whole plan can be replaced by the Lupane CBM depending on
the quantum of the resource.
Mr Speaker Sir, Zambia and Zimbabwe agreed on February 10, 2012, to embark
on the Batoka hydro project with a total capacity of 1600-2000MW. It was
agreed to proceed on a BOT basis under the leadership of the Zambezi River
Authority (ZRA). Zimbabwe agreed to pay Zambia $70.8million for the CAPCO
assets. $10m has since been paid. Interest has been agreed at $114 million
and there is no repayment plan. Zimbabwe has already asked Zambia for
interest not to be paid.
A detailed geological survey was done in 1994. It may be necessary to carry
out some confirmatory geological survey, together with an Environmental
It is envisaged that the ZRA in consultation with the two countries will
finalise the BOT framework soon so that they call for interested parties to
put forward their proposals. The main issues to be considered are the legal
and commercial issues and leave room for the interested parties to compete
on issues like design and technology.
The Great Inga
The Great Inga hydro project is proposed on the Congo River in the DRC. This
can produce upwards of 40,000MW. 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. It requires strong leadership and project
design skills to make all the political leaders comfortable with the
project. Hydro power is cheap and it is worth the time spent on promoting
OTHER INSTITUTIONAL ISSUES
Mr Speaker Sir, the funding of ZESA by Treasury has been minimal, despite
the provisions that have been made in the budget. A verbal agreement has
been reached with the Minister of Finance to deduct the subsidy to Sable
Chemicals and Government’s indebtedness to ZESA against the funds paid by
The Zimfund promised some $30m as urgent intervention. This money was paid
in by the Donor countries almost a year ago. No disbursements have been made
Restructuring of ZESA
Mr Speaker Sir, it is proposed to restructure ZESA to make it more efficient
and responsive to the consumers, whilst at the same time, setting up a
mechanism, which will make it easy for Independent Power Producers have a
level playing field.
ZESA Holdings was supposed to be only an instrument of holding shares in the
successor companies. Instead it morphed into a huge bureaucracy negating the
very point of establishing successor companies. In 2002 the Transmission
business was legislated to be separate from distribution, only to be
It is proposed that:
# 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 transform to Zimbabwe Distribution Company (ZDC) and be
responsible for Distribution of Electricity.
# Each of the companies will have a separate Board which will report
directly to the shareholder.
These companies will be:
# Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC)
# Zimbabwe Distribution Company (ZDC)
# National Grid Services Company (NGSC)
# ZESA Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd (ZENT)
Establishing an Electricity Industry
Almost 90% of all the spares and services to ZESA are from outside our
borders. There is no doubt that the engineering capacity at Independence was
so high and yet we are not reviving it. Local content of Hwange Power
Station was over 50%.
ZESA has been a major consumer and the spending power it has can be used as
a catalyst for the revival of the local electricity industry. On top of
this, our own engineers have excelled in the region and beyond.
Mr Speaker Sir, this requires deliberate targeting and formation of
partnerships. ZENT has been improving its manufacturing capacity, for
example, they now can produce 500 transformers per month. We can therefore
not allow transformers from outside at the expense of knocking out this
In the same vein, ZPC organised a workshop with the local industry so that
they can hold each other’s hands as they build the industry together. This
requires flexibility in the rules of the SPB.
The projects listed under IPP indicate that even if a quarter of them are
realised, it is a lot of work. This is the time to ensure that the capacity
is here to tap and localise the investment resource whilst at the same time
creating the much needed jobs.
Creating local capacity will also reduce the time it takes to carryout
repairs. For instance, generator 3 at Harare Power Station has been out for
more than a year, with the rotor alignment waiting for its turn in South
Africa. We need to empower our people by making them partners in the supply
of services and spares.
POLICY DOCUMENT LAUNCH
In early 2010, Cabinet approved the Energy Policy document. Over this period
series of workshops have been held with stakeholders in order to refine the
policy and prepare for implementation. The product of those consultations
has been completed, thanks to the assistance by UNDP.
It is planned to launch the document in July.
Mr Speaker Sir, I wish to assure the House that we are aware of the plight
facing the people of Zimbabwe. We share with them the grief and misery of
not having a reliable power supply.
I pledge to be making these ministerial statements to update the public on
the progress in instituting these measures. We owe it to the people of
I Thank You!
Zimbabwe says power debt down to under $20 mn
Sapa-AFP | 12 July, 2012 20:30
Energy-starved Zimbabwe has cut its debt to power providers to under US$20
million from around $100 million in a bid to resume imports after major
regional suppliers cut it off, the energy minister said Thursday.
"We have currently made strides to pay the debt we owed and our total debt
has now been reduced to below $20 million from nearly a $100 million,"
Energy Minister Elton Mangoma told parliament.
He said talks have begun with neighbours Mozambique and Zambia to get "a
little bit more" electricity after reducing the debt.
In recent months, Zimbabwe could only afford to import 25 megawatts from
neighbouring countries after major electricity suppliers in the region cut
off supplies for non-payment.
Zimbabwe needs about 2,200 MW of electricity at peak consumption but
generates just below 1,300 MW.
"Zimbabwe used to import as much as 500 MW from SNEL in DR Congo, EDM and
HCB in Mozambique and ZESCO in Zambia," he said adding the average quantity
had came down to 100 MW.
"Because we were not paying, even that 100MW has been reduced to 25MW."
Mangoma said the country is working on refurbishing its northern Kariba
hydro-power station and the Hwange thermal power station in the west of the
country to boost generation capacity.
The minister said earlier this year that the power utility Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is owed $400 million in unpaid
electricity bills by consumers.
Authorities also increased energy charges last year by 31 percent to 9.83
cents per kilowatt hour.
Zimbabwe in talks with Chinese firm on power plant
Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:09pm GMT
Print | Single Page
[-] Text [+]
By Nelson Banya
HARARE, July 12 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's government is in talks with China
Railway International over plans to build a 1,000 megawatt coal-fired power
plant to ease the southern African country's electricity shortages, its
energy minister said on Thursday.
Zimbabwe's ageing plants produce around 1,000 MW, half of its peak demand, a
power supply deficit which has paralysed mines and industry.
Energy Minister Elton Mangoma said Zimbabwe was considering several options
to expand output at existing facilities, while pursuing new projects,
including the Western Areas coal project in Hwange where a 1,000 MW thermal
plant is planned.
In a statement to parliament, Mangoma said state-owned Zimbabwe Power Co
(ZPC) was in talks with China Railway International, a subsidiary of China
Railway Group, to jointly run a coal mine that would supply the proposed
"Promising negotiations are underway with China Railway International,"
Mangoma said. He did not say how much the project would cost, but said the
plant would take between three and four years to finish.
Zimbabwe has short-listed bids for the expansion of its Hwange thermal
station and the Kariba hydro-plant to boost their combined output by 900 MW.
Independent power producers with projects that have the potential to
generate a total of 5,000 MW have been licensed but are yet to start work.
However, analysts say Zimbabwe is unlikely to attract significant foreign
investment due to President Robert Mugabe's drive to force foreign firms,
including mines and banks, to turn over 51 percent shareholdings to locals
under an empowerment law.
ZESA audit reveals massive corruption
An internal Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority investigation has
unearthed rampant corruption involving officials tampering with accounts.
by Criswell Chisango
The investigation, codenamed Operation Dandemutande (Cobweb), started in
April and has revealed that ZESA officers are deleting accounts with debts
and replacing them with new ones that show no money is owing. A report in
the hands of The Zimbabwean says the officials colluded with account holders
who paid them in cash or kind to destroy their bills.
A memo dated April 15 from an investigating team covering Karoi, Kariba and
Mhangura in Mashonaland West province and addressed to the Field Commander
of the area gives insight into this massive scam thought to be common in all
parts of the country.
The Dandemutande audit, commissioned by Energy Minister Elton Mangoma,
targeted unauthorised rural and urban power connections, illegal substations
According to a document compiled after the investigations, some of the
officials alleged to have abused their authority are now on forced leave.
The findings reveal that some of them received bribes for as little as $4 to
cancel the debts that had accumulated.
Other officials accepted bribes running into thousands of dollars, and in
some cases demanded sex from defaulting clients.
Karoi was described as a ‘’haven of corrupt (ZEDTC) workers’’, where
investigators said, customers implicated a ZEDTC worker who was being paid
amounts ranging from $10 to $20 for ‘‘burying accounts’’.
The same employee also received thousands of dollars from clients with huge
bills. He used the Change of Tenancy facility to re-open new accounts that
had been closed.
The investigators’ report said an account with a debt of $2,682.11 was
‘‘buried’’ and reopened in the official’s name, adding that, at one time,
the corrupt official demanded a beast from a client who owed $984.90.
Officials also accepted bribes running into thousands of dollars, received
cattle and in some cases demanded sex from defaulting clients.
In one case, a house was being reconnected every month, with the user paying
the corrupt meter readers amounts ranging from $10 - $20.
Only the senior meter reader has been sent on forced leave, and it was not
clear at the time of going to print why no action had been taken against the
Inside sources revealed that the power utility had not instituted legal
action against the offenders from Mashonaland West.
A senior Zesa official working at the Chitungwiza offices confided to The
Zimbabwean that cases of ‘’burying’’ accounts were rampant.
‘‘What you have heard about in Mashonaland Central is nothing compared to
Harare and Chitungwiza,’’ he said. ‘‘Here, people are buying cars and houses
using the bribes they get. Senior employees are involved.’’
He added that Zesa employees had become cautious after learning about
Dandemutande. Questions sent to the Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira, had
not been responded to at the time of going to print.
Energy workers threaten national blackout over salary dispute
By Alex Bell
10 July 2012
Workers from Zimbabwe’s energy sector have threatened to pull the plug on
the country’s power supply by Thursday, if their demands in an ongoing
salary dispute are not met.
The Zimbabwe Energy Workers’ Union (ZEWU) on Monday issued a 72-hour
ultimatum to the national power provider ZESA and other private players, to
either meet their demands or face a nationwide strike. The workers want the
salary increase that was meant to be awarded to them after a legal dispute
ZEWU president Angeline Chitambo told journalists in Harare on Monday that
the Union grouping had resolved to embark on the strike, accusing ZESA chief
executive Josh Chifamba of not honouring an arbitration order from last
month. The order promised a new salary structure would be awarded to the
energy sector on June 18th.
“We have given Chifamba 72 hours to respond to our management in a
meaningful engagement and people should not be surprised if they wake up
without electricity,” Chitambo said.
Chitambo added: “We have written so many letters and I don’t think this
blackout is going to be news to Chifamba. It will only be news to him if he
takes us for granted.”
ZEWU is an umbrella body representing workers from ZESA, the Rural
Electrification Agency, Petrotrade, the National Oil Infrastructure Company,
Green Fuels, Powertel, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and
Distribution Company, the Zimbabwe Power Company, Petrozim Lime, the Zambezi
River Authority and a Mozambican energy firm, CPMZ.
The threat comes as Zimbabwe continues to face power supply problems, with
the financially troubled ZESA unable to meet the countrywide demand for
power. Power cuts and load shedding are now a widely expected norm, and ZESA
has faced serious criticism for its service deliver failures.
Most recently, the power utility was criticised for its decision to carry on
providing estimated bills to energy users, despite its unreliable service.
ZESA has argued that it does not have the money to pay for meter readers.
Hwange thermal on stream next year
Thursday, 05 July 2012 16:54
THE rehabilitation of Hwange thermal power station is set for completion by
end of 2013 and this should significantly address erratic power supply in
the country, incoming permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy and
Power Development Patterson Mbiriri said this week.
The on-going rehabilitation of the project, which started in 2007, is
expected to lift power output to 700MW by August this year from the current
500MW, after the completion of repair to Units 1 and 2 of Hwange power
Mbiriri said treasury had so far injected more than US$50 million, with
Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) pumping US$40 million into the project.
Part of the project to repair the ash and handling plant at a cost of US$35
million was being financed by the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund (Zimfund)
and was also expected to be complete by 2013.
The EU-sponsored fund is administered by Africa Development Bank (AfDB),
with ZPC as the implementing agent.
AfDB is also administering under Zimfund, an urgent water supply and
sanitation rehabilitation project for the municipalities of Harare,
Chitungwiza, Mutare, Masvingo, Kwekwe and Chegutu in line with the
government’s Short-Term Emergency Recovery Programme (Sterp).
Mbiriri said in order to address the erratic power supply holistically, the
ministry would have to focus more on the transmission and distribution grid.
However, this would be a challenge, given the archaic primary equipment
available, he said.
“A lot of primary equipment is very old and urgently needs to be
refurbished,” Mbiriri said. “Key equipment such as reactors are out of
service due to their old age as most of these were installed in the 1960s.”
Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company is also set to
embark on a roll-out programme to install 5,5 million compact fluorescent
lamps in homes and institutions to save electricity.
Mbiriri said the exercise would save about 180MW of power, adding this would
also help the prepaid metering programme to be launched this year.
Zimbabwe is facing chronic power shortages, where output is about 1300MW
against national demand of 2200MW, albeit total installed capacity is 1960
MW. According to a Medium-Term Plan review report, domestic power generation
declined by 1,2% to 1280MW in January and February from the 1295MW
registered in December 2011.
Ratepayers Accuse Power Utility of Corruption
Residents in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, claim employers and officials from the country's power utility are targeting bill defaulters, seeking backhand payments to bypass disconnections.
In a new report the Harare Residents Trust says it has received numerous complaints from residents saying ZESA employees were threatening and abusing them and asking for bribes to by-pass disconnections for customers who are failing to cope with huge bills.
Chinese firm fails environment assessment
Friday, 15 June 2012 11:55
BULAWAYO — Plans by Africa Sunlight Energy to commercially exploit methane
gas in Matabeleland North have suffered a major blow after the Chinese firm
failed an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
The company has since been ordered to halt operations, dashing hopes for
alternative power generation in the region.
Africa Sunlight Energy was in the middle of exploring coal and coal-bed
methane in Gwayi with a view to establish a power station.
But the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) is of the view that its report
was not convincing.
EMA spokesperson, Steady Kangaka told The Financial Gazette that the agency,
as the custodian of the environment, would not give a go ahead to projects
that might harm the ecosystem.
“The development we want is a sustainable one which will remain long after
we have departed from this planet. It must be economically, socially and
environmentally friendly. If one of those parameters is missing then as EMA
we cannot give a go ahead,” said Kangaka.
“It has to be done in a proper manner. In this instance, the company wants
to mine near a conservancy area therefore we have to be absolutely sure that
it will not interrupt with water supply and wildlife,” he added.
The Gwayi Valley Intensive Conservation Area had also complained about the
growing number of coal mining companies operating in the conservancy fearing
their operations would destroy the hunting and photographic safaris, which
are their major source of revenue in the wildlife-rich area.
During a consultative stakeholders meeting last month, it emerged that
open cast coal-mining activities have affected 32 farms in the conservancy
where more than 1 000 people reside.
Of late, several companies have been given rights to start mining and
exploration activities in the coal-rich region, with the latest being
Discovery Investments Company, which was given the green light to conduct
coal bed methane gas exploration in Mzola and Dandanda communal lands in
Lupane and Binga districts; Markrock Exploration and Mining Company for coal
exploration in the Gwayi area of Lupane as well as Glotech Engineering for
a Spiral Plant at Hwange Colliery.
Recently, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Obert Mpofu announced
that more companies were keen on investing in mining activities in
Matabeleland North and took a swipe at the Gwayi Catchment Council
stakeholders for trying to block the new investments, which he said will go
a long way in uplifting the livelihoods of ordinary people.
Economic commentator, Eric Bloch, said it will take time before the methane
gas is fully exploited to provide alternative power for the whole
country. — Own Correspondent.
ZESA Lost Money to RBZ - Comptroller and Auditor General
10 hours 27 minutes ago
HARARE - June 16, 2012 – Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has
lost slightly over US$1million from its tobacco farming activities after the
funds were forfeited by the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the Comptroller
and Auditor General Mildred Chiri has said in her latest report.
The top government auditor also revealed that ZESA risks losing nearly
US$5million held by banks in South Africa and China.
“I noted that there were tobacco sales to Zimbabwe Leaf Tobacco amounting to
US$1 299 412, 40 that have not been recovered for a period of over two
years. ZLT instructed RBZ to make a transfer of the funds to ZESA
enterprises. However, the RBZ took the funds citing that ZESA holdings has a
debt owing to RBZ which RBZ decided to set off. ZESA enterprises was still
reflecting this trade debtor in their accounts as owing,” said Chiri.
“Recommendation- the debt should be transferred to ZESA holdings upon
reaching mutual consensus or provide for the debt in full. Concerted effort
should be made to resolve this issue.”
The report added that ZESA was losing revenue due to non billing of
customers as most farmers were not being due to their hostility to meter
readers. It added that ZESA officials sent to disconnect defaulters were
It said US$4; 2 million was held with South Africa’s FNB bank and US$33 000
by Escrow bank of China and no follow ups have been made on the money for
“No reconciliations were prepared for the accounts as no statements were
received. In the prior year no reconciliations were prepared due to the same
reason. Thus there has been no correspondence with the banks for the past
three years,” Chiri said in her report.
ZESA slammed for sticking with estimated bills
By Alex Bell
15 June 2012
Zimbabwe’s Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has been slammed for
continuing to issue estimated bills to power users across the country,
despite the unreliable service provided.
ZESA’s Chief Executive, Josh Chifamba, said this week that the power utility
does not have the money to pay for meter readers. He told the parliamentary
portfolio committee on state enterprises and parastatals that they have no
choice but to keep asking for payment based on estimates, because meter
readers would mean raising rates.
A report from that same committee has revealed that there was no correlation
between the ZESA charges and services rendered, with some users being
charged, despite not using power.
“For example, one lady in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo, during one of the meetings
stated that while she was away in South Africa for three months after having
settled her bills and locked the house, upon return she found a US$500 bill
awaiting her despite the house being uninhabited. The lady informed the
committee that efforts to get ZESA to rectify that had not yielded any
results,” the report said.
The report also said that many consumers, who had gone for days without
electricity due to faults in the ZESA system, still received high bills
Simbarashe Moyo from the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
slammed ZESA for what he called their “incompetence and insincerity.” He
told SW Radio Africa that ZESA bills do not tally with the service being
provided, and often “there is no service to speak of.”
“This is a parastatal that clearly does not care at all about the plight of
residents. Most people don’t have jobs, they can’t afford the bills, but if
they don’t pay they get cut off,” Moyo said.
The CHRA official said that privatisation of the electricity authority
should be seriously considered, because the entire country was being
affected by ZESA’s mismanagement.
“Parastatals like ZESA are not doing well because they are run on the basis
of government nepotism. So it would be good to privatise because once you
invite competition, you’ll have better service. And all Zimbabweans want is
proper service,” Moyo said.
ZESA was earlier this year forced into defending itself after it was
revealed that top level government officials were defaulting on their bills,
but still receiving service. This included the Mugabe family, who owed more
than US$300,000 to the utility.
These revelations came as ZESA recommitted itself to cutting off all bill
defaulters. But to date only general members of the public have been
punished in this way.
Plans to expand Kariba power plant hit snag
Monday, 11 June 2012 12:15
BY NQABA MATSHAZI
PLANS by Zimbabwe to add two more generators to Kariba South have all but
hit a brick wall, with the authority responsible for Kariba Dam saying the
project was not feasible.
Zimbabwe, which shares the Kariba dam with Zambia, was hoping that the new
generators would help ease power shortages and load-shedding, which are
common in the country.
“We have looked at the feasibility of the project and there is not enough
water to run continuous power generation, unless they propose to do so
during the rainy season peak periods,” Wilson Sakala, the Zambezi River
Authority senior manager for Water Resources and Environmental Management
“We fear that if it is continuously run, there won’t be enough water in the
dam. However, when it’s not during the rainy season, the two units can run
but only for shorter periods and that means when the dam is full to
capacity, we no longer have to open the floodgates.”
But the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) insisted that it would go ahead with
the project, as it was looking to expanding Kariba South to increase
“It has not been communicated to us that there are problems with our
expansion project. In fact we have been advised that the water levels are
always high in the Kariba Dam.
“Early this year, during a tour of the dam by Sadc, we were apprised on the
advantages of adding two more units,” Fadzai Chisveto, ZPC spokesperson
However, the Zambezi Watercourse Commission (Zamcom), which administers the
Zambezi River on behalf of the eight countries that are on the basin, says
Zimbabwe’s only chance of increasing power generation is based on its
ability to look for foreign investors.
“If Zimbabwe cannot buy enough power from the existing Sadc power pool, the
only solution is for the country to open doors to partners that can fund its
power projects,” Michael Mutale, Zamcom executive secretary said.
Countries on a cross-border water course like the Zambezi are supposed to
inform each other of any projects that they are working on the river, so
that it does not affect other nations who are either up or downstream.
There are eight countries on the Zambezi watercourse and these have to okay
Zimbabwe’s plans on power generation, which also have to be approved by the
ZRA, which administers the Kariba Dam on behalf of Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Countries on the Zambezi watercourse are Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Malawi
Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Sadc hopes for speedy resolution
Sadc hopes that the issue of adding more generators at Kariba power plant
may be resolved accordingly. Phera Ramoeli, Sadc senior programme officer
for water, said despite technical obstacles to Zimbabwe’s installing
additional generating capacity at Kariba South, he expected a solution would
“I am sure these are only technical issues but Zambia and Zimbabwe will iron
out these between themselves and find a win-win solution since ZRA is a body
that works in the best interests of the two,” he said.
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- Zim-Zambia partnership could ease ZESA woes
- ZESA Angers Glen Norah Residents
- ZESA seals US$230m India deal
- Govt to restructure energy sector
- ‘Zesa abandons load shedding schedule’
- 17 hours of load-shedding in Zim
- Winter Load Shedding Programme
- Mozambique Threatens Power Cuts To Zimbabwe
- Zimbabwe braces for daily 9-hour power outages amid winter weather