Power outages a warning: Residents

Residents yesterday said the ongoing power outages being experienced in most parts of the country are a “warning” by Zesa of the kind of darkness the country could face if debts are cancelled.

Report by Victoria Mtomba/Wonai Masvingise

The residents said the massive power cuts should be viewed as the consequences of recent utterances by Vice-President Joice Mujuru that Zanu PF wants outstanding debts cancelled.

Harare Residents Trust director Precious Shumba attributed the increased power outages to Mujuru’s recent utterances that all electricity debts owed by domestic users would be cancelled.

“We are attributing these power outages to the comments made by Vice-President Joice Mujuru that electricity bills that had accrued would be cancelled. We do not know as yet the extent of the impact of the Vice-President’s statement, but we suspect that this is linked,” he said.

Of late, the country has been experiencing power outages ranging from eight to 15 hours, with some areas going without power for 24 hours. This has raised speculation that the development is connected to the recently held harmonised elections that Zanu PF rivals allege were rigged.

“The implication might be that following the utterances by Mai Mujuru, Zesa is trying to send a message of the kind of darkness the country could face if debts are cancelled. This represents just a warning phase by Zesa that if government cuts off debts it could affect electricity imports,” Shumba said.

Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma on Tuesday accused politicians pushing for the scrapping of electricity debts of seeking to benefit personally while hiding behind poor citizens.

“They can say things at rallies, but sometimes those things must not be taken seriously,” said Mangoma, adding yesterday that he was unaware of what sparked the latest power cuts since he was no longer the responsible minister.

A report by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy last year revealed that several government ministers and officials owed thousands of dollars in unpaid electricity bills accrued at their private farms and homes.

Zesa is owed more than $400 million by individuals and government departments.

Last month, Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo ordered local authorities to scrap water bills and urged Zesa and Zinwa to follow suit.

Zesa Holdings chief executive officer Josh Chifamba yesterday, however, said the power cuts were a result of the decline in imports from neighbouring countries and maintenance work at Hwange Power Station.

Chifamba said the country had not experienced serious power interruption in the six weeks before the latest outages as it was receiving about 400 megawatts of power from Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB), while Hwange was working at full throttle producing 700 megawatts.

“After the elections we experienced problems. We had Hwange playing up and it started to produce 200 megawatts and HCB reduced exports to us as it was carrying out mantainanace at Songo. We expect the mantainanace to be complete today (yesterday). The interruption has nothing to do with elections,” Chifamba said.

Sources told NewsDay that the country was receiving as little as 50 megawatts of power from Mozambique.

According to the Zesa website, load-shedding status for the country yesterday was classified as moderate and there were no imports.

The country’s power generation statistics showed that as of yesterday, only 1 310 megawatts were available against a demand of 2 000 megawatts.

Commercial Farmers’ Union president Charles Taffs said the load-shedding had affected winter wheat production although less wheat had been planted this year due to lack of funding for the agricultural sector.

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21 Comments

  1. ZESA an order has been given, u just have to oblige. anywhere are u foreseeing an immediate improvement in the electricity situation. if all debts are scrapped off I strongly believe every sane person would from then onwards religiously pay his/her dues monthly, a situation which can improve ZESA revenue.

    1. What drug are you on? When you reward non-payment like Chombo did, then there is no incentive for those that pay. We are degenerating into a state of anarchy because of this populism. I promise you no one will be paying bills from now on because after 5 years the mayor-general will come along and announce the cancellation of all debts. Is that so difficult to understand.

  2. To us who were up to date we will stop paying like what we are now doing with councils until gvt give us a lumpsome as a compensation for being law abiding citizens.

    1. Precisely, kwete zveuyo anoti everyone will pay.

  3. Place all bad debtors on prepaid meters set to a higher price.

  4. Thobela..

    And the water has just gone dark black…

    Disaster!

    1. Pumberi ne Zunupf you ain’t seen anything yet, comrade Chinotimba and gang will show you how to run a country

  5. Mupfana weBikini

    L ET THEM SCRAP THOSE ZESA BILLS! Ko mushandi ari kuHwange anofoshora marasha everyday anohora chii?Ivo maZanu ndivo vane huge debts kuZesa, ngavabhadhare first tozonzwirana tsitsi later on. Look at this, I owe Zesa $250.00 since 2009. Chombo owes Zesa $600000.00 since 2009.Chombo wakes up one morning and scraps all Zesa bills- who is the major beneficiary here?Matsotsi hamunyare!

  6. we are living in a world were fair is foul and foul is fair,in zim scenerio,the good guys pay the price while the bad guys reap the benefits or winners are losers and losers are winners.unfortunately many electricity users have or a migrating to the prepaid system so if the good guys stop paying,they simply wont have electricity.i hope a fair reward system will be availed to those who were up2date with their bilsl.nyika yacho yazara makava yango imbwa idya imbwa.

  7. Chigandanga hachibhari pa economy. We respect u out of fear only when it comes to using the gun and beating sprees. When it comes to the issue of economic planning u are shockingly far behind. With the calibre of Chombo, Chinoz, Kasukuwere etc as strategists Zimbabwe’s economy wil inevitably plummet to alarming levels once again. These poor and destructive policies if will soon boomerang on them and the povo too. Sanctions were and are and will remain their cause of every problem that hinders development in ZW not the destructive policies. I dont think this system is too strong to dismantle, we are only too naive to them.

  8. Do you think 40000 soldiers and 40000 police officers can thwart a demomstration of say 1.3million civilians?

    1. Pondaihenyumwanawevhu

      @Tokonyai indava uchifunga semuroyi anozvidyira vana iwe. Why do u think of demonstrations and demonstrating against what. The gvt say scrap bill because of the unjustified conversion of Zim$ to USD iwe woti aiwa ngatidemonstate. During that period tell what meaningful services did ZESA and Council provided. Isu vamwe we’re true Zimbabweans who has concern for the future generation. Look at Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Iraq what is ther to talk about. They had the best infrustructure and were used to destroy them by the West vakuru vedemocracy. Libya didn’t owe any nation even IMF chikwereti but Kadhaffi was labeled a dictator just as they label Ba Chatunga. Sorry henyu ndaenda kure coz mafungire evamwe vedu haana hanya nemangwana erudzi rwedu. The West want to see us down and under we as Africans can not be seen raising to there level that is an unforgivable seen in there eyes. We must remain baggers whilst they continue building there armies, to kill who have you ever asked. They own stocks of nuclea war heads but any nation working towards nuclear is denounced and attacked. If nuclea weapons are so dangerous as we all know why cant they destroy there nuclea war heads. Top secret these weapons will be used to wipe us out. Wake up…..

  9. Work out the raio, its very ridiculus

  10. WILLARD MUBVUMBI

    Zvakaoma.

  11. To all those who are celebrating the so called election win, you are still going to MAMA with Zunupf forward with corruption, that’s what you voted for your children will never have the opertunity to know what civilization is, back to the dark ages Zimbabwe goes

  12. my roomate’s sister-in-law makes $65/hr on the laptop. She has been out of a job for 10 months but last month her pay check was $15586 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this web site http://www.bar17.com

  13. Enda zvako pondai. You think everyone with a view different to yours is not a true Zimbabwean kkkkkk very sorry my fellow countryman. Zpf is not zimbabwe.

    1. Never was, and never will be

  14. @ pondai. Do you even know that it is our constitutional right to hold peaceful demonstrations against despotic leaders. You are talking of Egypt while people were killed here: gukurahundi, murambatsvina, 2008 macabre killings, intimidation and abductions are still the order of the day.

  15. Don’t worry Zanu PF will sort out all these minor problems of no electricity, no water. They just need another 33years to sort everything out.

  16. Zimbabwe needs sanity in the manner in which charges are made. In the 1990’s backwards, the combined charges for water and municipal rates were less than five U.S. dollars per household per month, paid in Zim dollar equivalents. Electricity bills were just the same. From 2009, when water had moved to ZINWA, water and rates charges individually stood at seventy U.S. dollars each and ZESA bills came to the same figure a month. Together, that amounts to more than three quarters of a civil servant salary, and to more than 200% for most of 2009 when the salaries were 100 dollars per month. Payments are not for usage but for the facvt that there are distinct utilities called ZESA, ZINWA and the local authority.
    Then the nation is told that our charges are the lowest in the region as if our household and corporate incomes were the highest. Somebody and something must sober up.

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