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Power cuts jolt govt

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KARIBA — Energy and Power Development minister Dzikamai Mavhaire has threatened to cancel power-generating licences allocated to 12 independent power producers, accusing them of failing to boost electricity supply in the country resulting in persistent power cuts.

EVERSON MUSHAVA

Mavhaire, warning that those who, according to him, sabotaged the
Zanu PF election manifesto would face the music, said government would not tolerate companies sitting on power-generating licences while Zimbabweans were living in “total darkness”.

In an interview with NewsDay after touring Kariba Hydropower Station yesterday, Mavhaire said failure by the companies to operate was tantamount to holding the country “to ransom”.

“As the minister, I will not allow people to sit on licences while people are in total darkness. We will cancel all disused licences,” Mavhaire warned. “People used to complain that there is monopoly in power generation. We liberalised and gave them licences, (but) they sit on them. We will not allow a situation whereby people move around brandishing licences as a way of soliciting funds — kukorokoza nemalicence. We give them licences, they don’t implement them. They will lose them.”

Government recently licenced 12 independent power producers, but only six are operational resulting in the country experiencing incessant load-shedding and importing power from the region.

Mavhaire said Zanu PF won the July 31 elections because it promised people to deliver on a lot of things, among them electricity. He said people who sought to sabotage Zanu PF’s election manifesto would face the music.

The ministry, Mavhaire said, would, however, try to establish why some companies were not producing power after getting licences with the understanding that power generation required time in terms of setting up the power production plant.

Mavhaire said load-shedding would continue for some time, while the country improved its power-generating capacity.

Zimbabwe, which currently has a power deficient of over 500 megawatts (MW), according to Mavhaire, would eventually export power to other countries in the region. He implored the energy sector to embrace Zanu PF’s indigenisation programme.

“But I cannot allow the country to go in the dark because there are no indigenous players with the capacity to generate power,” Mavhaire said.

He urged the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to expeditiously commence the expansion of power generation that would see electricity output at Kariba increase by 300MW in three years.

“The time to talk is over. We want implementation,” he said. Expansion of Kariba Hydropower Station was set to resume next January.

ZPC projects manager Wellington Maphosa said the expansion process, to be complete in three years, would gobble in excess of $350 million.

“The 300MW will go a long way in reducing load-shedding at peak hours,” Maphosa said.

He said China Eximbank had promised to fund the project once a loan agreement was signed.

Sino-Hydro, a Chinese company, won the tender to expand the Kariba power station so that its output increases from 750MW to 1 050MW once the expansion is complete.

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