Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Zesa fears collapse

Zesa fears collapse

By Everson Mushava, Staff Writer
Monday, 24 October 2011 08:01

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, Zesa risks a gradual 
shut down if it continues to charge sub-economic tariffs.

Josh Chifamba, Zesa’s chief executive said the 31 percent tariff hike in 
September this year was justified as it was necessitated by the need to 
improve the infrastructure of the power utility that was dilapidated.

Chifamba said the country required 2 100 megawatts (MW) of power a day but 
the country was currently producing only 1 300MW, 700MW short of the 
required  output.

He said the problem would be eased by the refurbishment of the Hwange and 
Kariba power stations which was under way but needed over $2 billion to be 

Hwange and Kariba power stations have the capacity to produce 600 and 300 
megawatts respectively, when complete.

But Chifamba said, Zesa does not have the needed funds for it is owed more 
than  $449 million. Nearly half  (46 percent) of it by consumers, 30 percent 
by the industry  and 10 percent by government.

According to financial results of the first quarter of 2011, the power 
utility also suffered a $100 million loss.

“We are bold enough to tell Zimbabweans that we had to increase the tariffs 
to improve the supply of energy in the near future. If nothing is done  now, 
there will be more losses to the economy due to loss of revenue when there 
is no electricity.”

“If we do not do anything to improve the supply of electricity now, we will 
not be able to respond to the user demand in the near future as industry 
regains. The cost of doing nothing means people will have to go back to the 
use of diesel,” said Chifamba.

He said there are also high chances that industry will be losing revenue of 
about $4 a kilowatt hour if we don’t provide electricity.

“We are sensitive to what is happening, but if we don’t do anything there 
will be more problems when we stop generating electricity,” he said.

The cost of using a generator when there is no electricity is 45 cents more 
than that of what people are supposed to pay Zesa.

Most companies have been operating below capacity due to an insufficient and 
inconsistent supply of electricity, torching a heated confrontation between 
the power utility and the Confederations of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI).

The business grouping’s president Joseph Kanyekanye, accused Zesa of 
impeding economic recovery through increasing tariffs while the hours of 
load shedding increased.

The Commercial farmers’ Union of Zimbabwe said irrigation of crops had been 
affected by lack of electricity while miners say they use a minimum of 5 000 
litres of diesel to sustain their mining operations when they do not have 

Consumers had not been spared and with increased load-shedding hours, most 
high density areas in the country are going for inordinately long periods in 
the dark.

Parson Chitima, 34, a resident of Kuwadzana high density suburb said he lost 
his refrigerator due to power cuts and like him, many people around the 
country lost their electrical appliances due to the untimely power cuts.

The Combined Harare Residents Association, a ratepayer watchdog said the 
only way Zimbabweans could get enough electricity is when it stops 
exporting electricity to Namibia.

NamPower, the Namibian power utility, provided $40 million for the 
refurbishment of Hwange Power Station in Zimbabwe in 2008.

The gesture would be paid by importing 150 megawatts of electricity 
generated at the Zimbabwean plant to Namibia until 2013.

Zimbabweans are now left to pay the price of bad corporate governance by the 
power utility and for a little longer until 2013, the industry and domestic 
consumers will have to do with insufficient and inconsistent supply of 

Almost three years after a coalition government between President Robert 
Mugabe and his arch rival Morgan Tsvangirai was formed, the country’s 
future looks bleak, with erratic power supplies threatening economic 

Zimbabwe will experience its worst nightmare when demand increases with 
increased production and attendant demand from manufacturers.

Currently, industry is operating at between  20 and 40 percent while trying 
to lift itself from the economic rut invented by a near-collapse of the 
economy during the past decade.


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