ZIMBABWE will continue to face power outages and load shedding for the next four years, the Zimbabwe Guardian has learnt.
Power utility, Zesa Holdings, is currently grappling with an array of challenges among them vandalism that destroys property worth US$800 000 per month.
Zesa chief executive officer Josh Chifamba said the challenges that include a huge debt overhang, low installed capacity and general dip in the availability of power in the region will see the power utility load-shedding to share the limited resources.
Chifamba was giving oral evidence before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy.
The committee, which was chaired by Uzumba MP Simba Mudarikwa of Zanu-PF, wanted to know the challenges faced by Zesa.
Eng Chifamba said the recent tariff increase, coupled with new projects currently being implemented both at Hwange and Kariba Power Station should be a source of hope for improved electricity supply in the next three years.
“When are we going to see improvement? Obviously what Honourable Members and the rest of the country are expecting to hear is the time when we will not be load shedding.
“That time is not very close, the time we need to commission new projects is about three years.”
He said two more projects are being implemented at Hwange and Kariba.
“At Hwange, we will be putting two extra machines to give us 600 Megawatts and Kariba 300 MW, that’s 900 MW, we expect to finish Kariba in 2015 and Hwange 2016,” he said.
Chifamba said the completion of these projects would not see loading shedding easing.
“When that happens, it will alleviate our situation but we will still not be out of the woods.”
He said Botswana was currently working on a new project and Zesa hopes to tap into it when it is completed.
The deal was, however, subject to the two countries agreeing terms.
Chifamba said consumer debt had been reduced from US$450 million to US$427 million owing to payment arrangement Zesa has entered with customers.
The delay in approving a cost reflective structure has seen Zesa failing to repair and maintain equipment while affecting operations.
The Zesa boss implored legislators to come up with a legal instrument that would punish consumers who continue to use old bulbs instead of energy savers once new bulbs have been introduced.
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