Serious measures required to tackle power crisis

THE increase in load-shedding by Zesa since the holding of the July 31 elections has spawned various theories, including that of sabotage.

NewsDay Editorial

This, however, is not a new problem regardless of the accusations and suspicions that have been bandied about. We have such power cuts every year and will continue to do so if we do not find lasting solutions to this perennial crisis.

There is need for the new government to roll up their sleeves and tackle this problem head-on.

It is time to do away with unnecessary point-scoring and politicking and find lasting solutions that will not only bring muchneeded relief to consumers, but also go a long way to reviving industry.

There is a need to seriously look at the aspect of bringing in independent producers that complement Zesa in the supply of power as the parastatal has clearly shown that it is not capable of going it alone in the provision of adequate power.

Independent producers would ensure that there is considerable improvement in power supply and help boost the much-needed investor confidence.

The need for consumers to pay their bills cannot be overemphasised and there should be no sacred cows in this aspect. Paying bills will help Zesa carry out its mandate of providing electricity.

Which is why it is baffling to hear calls by government officials to scrap electricity bills accrued since the introduction of multi-currencies in 2009.

It begs a number of questions. How do they then expect Zesa to function if such ridiculous proposals are implemented? Where do they expect them to get the money for operations if consumers are allowed to use electricity for free?

Will this not send the wrong message to consumers that they can use electricity wantonly and get away with it? More to the point, can we blame Zesa for increased power cuts this populist, but thoughtless directive will bring?

It was revealed early last year by Energy minister Elton Mangoma to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy that most government ministers owe between $20 000 and $100 000 with Manicaland governor Chris Mushohwe owing a whopping $145 000, contributing largely to the then $537 million Zesa debt.

Therein lies the problem: Individuals who are supposed to lead the way in paying bills are the very ones mired in debt to the parastatal. A sad and scandalous situation indeed!

Unless serious measures are taken to tackle the power crisis in the country, the problem will persist no matter how many conspiracy theories we come up with.

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