Zesa gets ultimatum to end load shedding

Zvamaida Murwira |  1 year ago | local

President Mnangagwa has directed the Ministry of Energy and Power Development to come up with measures to end load shedding within the next two years, riding on the several interventions and support extended to the power utility by the Government, particularly the Hwange Power Station Expanded Project launched two years ago.

He said Zesa Holdings should adopt modern technology to curb vandalism which has been a scourge for the utility.

The ongoing implementation of Hwange Power Station life extension project and cumulative operationalisation of mini-hydro, thermal and solar power plants will see the country become energy secure, self-sufficient and a net exporter of power, said President Mnangagwa.

He said this in Harare yesterday when he commissioned 200 transformers and 117 vehicles procured by Zesa Holdings.

“Whilst we in Government would want to see these things happen, the only people who can make it happen are you, the Ministry of Energy and Zesa, so we pin our hopes on you, but if we discover we are pinning hopes on wrong people we look for right people,” said President Mnangagwa while departing from his prepared speech.

The Hwange Power Station Expansion, launched by President Mnangagwa in 2018, will add 600MW on the national grid and is a key enabler of increased production and productivity across all sectors of the economy.

To date, the infrastructure to evacuate power from new and existing plants to strengthen transmission and distribution network is being installed.

“Minister of Energy and Power Development (Zhemu Soda), I want that in this country, after two years, maximum three years. We should have all the energy we want and no one should be able to spell the word ‘load shedding’ in the next two to three years,” said President Mnangagwa. 

“In addition, these interventions will consolidate stability of the electricity supply system, reduce technical losses and bolster power supplies within the Southern African Power Pool transmission grid. Meanwhile the Integrated Energy Resource Master Plan must be speedily completed.” 

President Mnangagwa bemoaned increased cases of vandalism of electricity distribution and supply infrastructure across the country, saying the loss and cost of transformers, as well as other related infrastructure was counter-productive and retarded economic production and productivity.

“To this end, the risk and loss control unit of Zesa Holdings is directed to work closely and honestly with the police and other arms of the State to eliminate the scourge of vandalism,” he said. 

“The adoption, use and deployment of modern technology to curb this menace must be pursued with urgency. 

“But I suspect some of the vandalism is linked to those who have knowledge on how to reach a live electricity cable, and the only people who know this are Zesa workers or ex-workers, you are warned.”

President Mnangagwa said the Second Republic was committed to support Zesa Holdings through the Hwange Power Station Expansion Project, coupled with the ongoing resourcing and recapitalisation of Zesa Enterprises (ZENT), to ensure adequate supply of transformers and other associated requirements.

“The assured funding must, therefore, result in the manufacturing of more transformers for our local needs,” he said. 

“The utility is further urged to ride on its export foot prints in Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo to expand into other parts of the continent and beyond.” 

This was in fulfilment of the thrust of the import substitution strategy which entailed local manufacturing of strategic goods and products whose ultimate objective will be to create jobs and generate foreign currency. 

President Mnangagwa implored Zesa Holdings to enhance revenue collection which is commensurate to the penetration level of electricity like Rwanda whose collection level he said was at 100 percent.

“In this regard, the conclusion of the proposed partnership between Zesa Holdings and the Rwanda Energy Group must be expedited,” he said.

President Mnangagwa commended Zesa Holdings for initiating a transformative restructuring exercise, saying that dovetailed with Government’s call for the reform of State-owned entities for greater efficiencies in delivery of power.

He called upon all Zimbabweans to remain on guard in the wake of a surge in Covid-19 infections.

The event was attended by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda, Cabinet Ministers and senior Government officials.