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Tendai Biti blames government for power blackouts

by Staff reporter
13 Nov 2022 at 17:36hrs | Views
CITIZENS Coalition for Change vice president Tendai Biti has said rolling power blackouts have a negative impact on the pillars of the economy and Government should consider investing in renewable energy.

Biti blamed government for the slow response in ending power cuts.

His sentiments come at a time Zimbabwe is currently in a deep energy crisis, which has seen some areas going for more than six hours without electricity.

A combination of antiquated generating units and suppression of imports from neighbouring countries has been attributed to be the root cause of the electricity problems.

"The energy situation in Zimbabwe is completely out of hand. Blackouts are killing industry, farming and negatively affecting working families.

The power crisis is a leadership issue. #ZANU knew Hwange Units had to be decommissioned in the 80s but did nothing on generation.

"Hwange 7 and 8 currently under construction with Chinese funds is simply too small and over priced. Those resources should have been invested in alternative green fuel, including solar plants and hydro stations in Manicaland. Zambia has done well without pursuit of damaging fossil energy," said Biti.

Zimbabwe depends on Hwange power generation and Kariba Hydro Power for generation of electricity.

However, failure to meet the rising demand has necessitated Zimbabwe Electricity Supplying Authority (ZESA) to import power from South Africa and Mozambique to augment the local supply.

Zimbabwe needs more than 2 000 megawatts of electricity to meet demand.

Biti slammed ruling ZANU-PF leaders for contributing to the ballooning ZESA debt, which has slowed down functioning at the State entity.

"There is a culture of energy waste, of not paying bills, of use of energy consuming gadgets. ZANU elites do not pay energy bills on their farms and ZESA is owed billions . Prepaid meters are a must. Solar panels and solar geysers should be a must on households.

"Lastly, Zim must deal with corruption, The Dema Power project being an example. The 2018 ZESA forensic audit exposed billions that were lost through corruption. Scammers and reptiles have made millions through various schemes.The energy sector, including fuel, is the most corrupt in Zimbabwe," he said.

In an effort to bring ZESA to sanity, President Emmerson Mnangagwa approved the restructuring of the power utility board led by Sydney Gata, drawing criticism from governance experts.

Biti said models of operation at the power utility should be revisited.

"Demand side management should also look at how ZESA is run. A few years ago it was unbundled but there is no evidence that unbundling was effective. A study must therefore be carried out to determine whether there is a case for re-bundling. What is best practice, what works better," he said.

"Demand side management must also look at the pricing model of energy . It is not sustainable that power imported at 13cents a KW is sold at 3cents a KW. But any pricing model must involve the consumer in a transparent process that avoids arbitrage or undercutting the institution."

Source - NewZimbabwe