The Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Authority (Zera) has urged players in the tourism and hospitality industry to build their own power stations to alleviate power shortages in the country.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Speaking at a Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce trade and investment dinner in Bulawayo last week, Zera economic regulation manager, Learnmore Nechitoro said the country was faced with power challenges, as such businesses and individual people should set up their own power stations to avert power shortages.
“Hotels should actually build their own power stations. If you go up to the roof of this hotel (Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel) there is just nothing up there. It’s actually empty, but you can put up a power station that can supply this hotel and feed into the national grid,” he said.
“So through some of the systems where people can be able to supply themselves, this will actually take the load from the supplier and also contribute towards the supply in the country.”
The call by Zera comes two months after Energy and Power Development minister Samuel Undenge told companies to import their own power.
Zimbabwe has been battling to plug energy deficit due to limited investment in the capital intensive energy sector. The country requires about 2 200MW daily, but generates below 1 400MW resulting in frequent power cuts that has hit industry, mines and households.
The country’s power situation has been further exacerbated by low water levels at Lake Kariba, which have seen the hydro power plant’s generation capacity being reduced by more than 30%.
To date, Zimbabwe has more than 15 Independent Power Producers that have been licenced to own and operate small power stations with the potential of exporting excess electricity to the national grid.
The country has said it will import electricity from South Africa and is about to be finalised, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) southern region general manager Lovemore Chinaka said.
“There are other negotiations that are pretty much advanced, as I’m speaking to you. They will give us immediate relief. Everything is done, maybe before the end of the month we would be in a position to import about 300MW from South Africa,” he said.
“It’s a deal being negotiated between the government of Zimbabwe and South Africa, the chamber of mines in Zimbabwe and an association in South Africa that has got that quantum allocated to them. I can’t divulge much about the negotiations but have it in good authority that they are pretty advanced and all things being equal it will then give us immediate injection of about 300MW and we will feel it.”
Chinaka said ZETDC was also expecting a delivery of about 130 000 meters to finish off the prepayment metering project throughout the country.
“We are expecting another delivery of a huge chunk of meters (of) about 130 000 to finish off the roll out of the prepayment
metering project. Together with that, we are also going to import what we call smart meters that we will put on the large power users,” he said.
Chinaka said at that time, ZETDC would be able to say everyone should go to prepayment because some of their 24 electricity suppliers are demanding payment upfront.
“I know one of them, every month they want $1,5 million put into their account before we start talking about importing electricity from them. So it is very important for people to pay their bills and we are also able to work,” he said.