‘Zesa requires US$6m to replace stolen equipment’

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Zinara board chairperson George Manyaya

BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA/OBERT SIAMILANDU

POWER utility, Zesa Holdings says it requires US$6 million to replace the 2 000 transformers and other infrastructure vandalised throughout the country.

This was revealed by Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company’s commercial service director Ralph Katsande during a stakeholders’ meeting in Hurungwe, Mashonaland West province.

He said vandals had become so daring and sophisticated.

“The theft and vandalism of electrical infrastructure has reached alarming proportions. The thieves have become daring, organised and sophisticated to such an extent that the distribution network is getting decimated daily,” Katsande said.

“Over 18 000 customers are off electricity supplies for periods of up to four years due to faults caused by theft and vandalism. Vandalism is now one of the leading causes of faults, and is greatly inconveniencing. The high fault incidence emanates from an aged power distribution infrastructure. The slow reaction to faults is due to the critical shortage of transport for fault teams. ”

Zesa spokesperson George Manyaya said:  “We have intensified our stakeholder engagement efforts and we are now moving around the country meeting all clients in order to appreciate the challenges they face. We have engaged the community in Tembwe, which is a farming area, so that we work together with our stakeholders to promote constant power supplies for increased agricultural productivity in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1).”

Farmers throughout the country, especially in Hurungwe, are said to be facing constant power cuts, which are affecting agricultural production.

Meanwhile, Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) chief executive officer Munyaradzi Munodawafa has said on-going works at Kariba Dam would not affect power generation in the country.

This follows a marginal increase in water levels in the dam due to heavy rains that fell last week.

“Going forward, the remaining works at the Kariba Dam rehabilitation project will not result in the two utilities seeing reduced generation levels at their respective Kariba power stations,” Munodawafa said;

During the last quarter of 2021, the ZRA requested the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and Zesco Ltd (of Zambia) to reduce power generation levels for six hours on a few selected dates to facilitate coffer dam construction works under the plunge pool.

ZPC and Zesco were expected to implement measures to mitigate reduction in power generation levels at Kariba Dam.

The Kariba Dam rehabilitation project comprises the reshaping of the plunge pool and the refurbishing of the spillway gates.

The project should be completed in 2025 at a projected cost of US$294 million.

It is being funded by the European Union, World Bank, African Development Bank, the Swedish government and ZRA on behalf of the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe, through a combination of grants and loans.

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