Zesa on Monday asked Parliament to support its efforts to enforce efficient usage of electricity by enacting legislation that will ban the use of incandescent bulbs.
Chief executive officer of the power utility, Josh Chifamba, told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy the only way for electricity consuumers to stop using incandescent light bulbs was to come up with strict laws.
“In the short term, we are also going to implement energy-saving programmes to replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent energy-saving bulbs and through this initiative, we will get upwards of 800 000 hours of lighting, which is three years’ power supply,” said Chifamba.
“We want support from MPs to introduce legislation that will ban the use of incandescent lights,” he said.
Chifamba said the ideal situation was to ban them at regional level and the idea had recently been discussed at ministerial level in the region.
“Ministers met and it was decided the best thing was to implement that piece of legislation in the region, because if we ban them in Zimbabwe only and yet in other countries they continue to be used, a black market for incandescent lights might flourish and we would continue having the problem,” said Chifamba.
He said the 32% rise in tariffs was justified and even with those increases, revenue requirements for Zesa were not being addressed as coal and diesel costs were also high.
“Coal constitutes 46% of costs responsible for energy and a whole gamut of expenses has increased. There is a lot of refurbishment work that is not being done and serious transport shortages such that we cannot send people to actually respond to faults. These tariff increases have to address those issues and allow us to operate our business, carry out maintenance and attend to faults,” he said.
Chifamba said Zesa was owed $450 million by customers, but had managed to reduce the debt to $427 million.
He said at times Zesa was providing electricity at a loss and two months ago the situation was so bad they imported it at 45 cents per unit and sold it at seven-and -a-half cents per unit.