THE government has introduced a legal instrument which now makes it an offence to own a generator either for domestic or industrial purposes without the approval of the Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Commission (Zerc).
Instrument 103 of 2008 which was gazetted a fortnight ago makes it mandatory for all household and industrial generators to be inspected and approved by Zerc for a fee pegged in United States dollars.
Those who flout the regulations risk being fined or jailed for up to six months.
The statutory instrument reads: “Any person who owns or operates a standby electricity generator having a generation, transmission, distribution or supply capacity of less than 100 kilowatts shall, within 120 days, notify the Commission of the fact…and submit together with the notification the verification and safety inspection fee prescribed in the second schedule.”
The statutory instrument now makes it a requirement for people owning electricity generators or standby electricity generators generating above 100 kilowatts or those owning two or more electricity generators or standby electricity generators to apply for a licence.
The statutory instrument comes at a time when generators have become a necessity due to intermittent power cuts by the sole power producer Zesa.
This has a seen a boom in the trade of generators in most hardware shops.
“Any persons owning or operating an electricity generator or standby electricity generator generating, transmitting distributing or supplying electricity shall be deemed to be an electricity undertaking . . . and shall apply for the appropriate electricity licence . . . unless he or she satisfies the commission, by written notification submitted together with the verification and safety inspection fee prescribed that the generator or generators are for the sole purpose of his or her household or business,” reads part of the instrument.
Zerc will levy US$5 and US$20 for verification and safety inspection for electoral generators below 100 kilowatts and those above respectively.
Individual standby electricity generator owners will be charged an inspection fee of US$20 while prototype generator owners will be levied US$100.
The generator users will be required to comply at all times with public safety standards and to allow access at all reasonable times by the commissionerâ€™s inspectors to the premises on which the electricity is located to enable them to determine whether the conditions of the permit are being adhered to.
The introduction of this legal instrument is set to open up space for companies and individuals to apply for licences to distribute electricity for household and business purposes as a move to counter erratic power supplies.
By Lucia Makamure