BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) is set to impose a ban on the use of energy-guzzling appliances, a move that could leave many families without their most treasured household electrical gadgets.
Zera is government’s energy regulator.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ workshop in Bulawayo yesterday, engineer Samuel Zaranyika said the ban of heavy energy consuming appliances would save the country about 377 megawatts.
“The main benefit is that there will be reduction in energy use. People are just using appliances which are not efficient and, after this has been enforced, we expect people to use appliances that are energy efficient,” he said.
“Why have we actually developed these regulations? There are no efficiency appliances flooding the market. You and I all know it. There is need for great investment in the electricity generation, so by using energy-efficient appliances, we can actually create a virtual power station through using the energy-efficient appliances.
“If we make a saving of 200MW, through the use of energy-efficient appliances, it’s actually cheaper than putting up a 200MW power station; and we don’t have the money.”
Targeted appliances include air conditioners, audio and video equipment, dishwashers, electric ovens, refrigerators and freezers; tumble dryers, washer-dryer combinations, washing machines as well as induction cook stoves.
Currently, Zera is doing consultations across the country with the intention of implementing the regulations on or before next year.
“Why these regulations? We want to increase the energy efficiency of appliances, and we are going to set the minimum performance standards,” he said.
Zaranyika said the regulations were being used by countries such as Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia, Kenya and Ghana, among others.
“We want to increase the energy efficiency of the appliances and eliminate less efficient models currently on the market. We want to harmonise with other countries’ standards like South Africa and Japan so that we prohibit imports of inefficient products,” he said.
But there were concerns from other stakeholders who felt the move would deprive many citizens.
Some suggested that Zera should invest more in energy production than restricting people from using it, thereby losing revenue in the process.
There were also suggestions that the authority should make sure that all energy-efficient appliances were made affordable to encourage uptake.
According to the proposed Electricity (Energy Efficiency of Electrical Appliances) Regulations 2018, the regulations will apply to electricity mains operated appliances manufactured, imported and donated for use in the country.
No person shall import, manufacture, store, offer for sale, sell, distribute, receive as a donation, or otherwise dispose of non-efficient appliance, unless it complies with the minimum energy efficiency standard and the energy performance requirement.
Any person who contravenes the provisions of the regulations shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level five, or in default of payment, imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both such fine and such imprisonment.