HomeBusiness DigestCZI/Zesa meet over power blues

CZI/Zesa meet over power blues

Godfrey Marawanyika

THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) Holdings last week met with the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) over power distribution problems caused by undercapitalisation.

The meeting, called by Zesa, was also attended by former CZI acting chief executive officer, Farai Zizhou, executive chairman of Zesa, Sydney Gata and his corporate affairs manager, Obert Nyatanga.

Officials who attended the meeting said the power utility highlighted its major problems which pertain to power supply and tariff adjustments.

Zesa said it was facing critical shortages of foreign currency and was being forced to levy sub-economic rates due to pressure from both industrialists and government.

Government has not yet approved a proposal by Zesa to raise rates by 120% as of the beginning of the year.

Nyatanga could not be reached for comment this week as he was said to be out of the country.

CZI president Pattison Sithole said although he did not attend the meeting his organisation’s members were addressed by Zesa.

“I did not attend the meeting personally, but some of our members attended,” he said.

“Our members raised concerns about the non-reliability of the supply side which has affected our output. This was a dialogue process where they also told our members the problems they are facing.”

The power utility also says it is worried by government delays to appoint an independent regulatory authority. The authority is expected to promote competition and level the playing field for all stakeholders.

The authority will be responsible for issuing licences to industry players and operate a market mix of regulated and unregulated tariff structures.

Some of the constraints Zesa and its subsidiaries are facing pertain to inability to maintain transmission and distribution networks.

The old system has led to a number of faults which have made power supplies unreliable to industry and commerce.

Although Zesa has not announced load-shedding, failure to maintain transmission networks has resulted in the organisation failing to detect faults, which has caused power interruptions.

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy, Justin Mupamhanga, said an independent regulatory authority would be set up once the technical framework was in place.

“The process is being done although these guys will always complain,” Mupamha-nga said on Tuesday.

“We are following laid-down procedures. The regulatory authority will be established once the process is completed.”

Zesa officials also told the meeting that the network was overstretched and their predicament was worsened by the shortage of materials.

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