VICTORIA FALLS – Zesa Holdings (Zesa) has said it has lost equipment and infrastructure worth $14,1 million between 2011 and 2015 to vandalism.
The national power utility said yesterday despite increased acts of vandalism, it was still taking action to improve its infrastructure.
“In mitigation, we are replacing all copper cables, conductors with aluminium cables which have better transmission of electricity, but with limited other uses. The replacement of cables is an on-going exercise in an attempt to curb this vice,” Zesa said in a statement.
The company said it was also looking at better security mechanisms to protect the cables.
“We are looking at new technologies that have come through, which involves new properties in transformer oils, which if used for any other purposes other than transformers will damage engines,” Zesa said.
This comes after the Zimbabwe Republic Police last year recovered 30 tonnes of electricity cables worth more than $600 000.
Zesa said such cases are reported on a regular basis and vandalism was also affecting electricity supply, leading to power cuts in both domestic and industrial premises. The national power utility said it was also working on phasing out electricity purchase banking halls in favour of third party distributors to afford convenience for electricity users.
“You will notice that consumers can now purchase electricity in supermarkets and select bank third party agents. This is a deliberate strategy to ensure that the authority is fully digitalised,” the company said. Meanwhile, Zesa said it was still waiting on the energy sector regulator Zera to approve the proposed electricity tariff hike of between 12c and 16c per kWh.
At the moment, Zera is still consolidating stakeholder inputs before finalising the tariff approval.
The regulator met with stakeholders at the beginning of the year in consultative meetings which revealed that most quarters were against the 49 percent hike.
Zesa is currently selling electricity at 9,86c per kWh, which is thought to be too low compared to regional averages of 14c per kWh.
Recent reports had indicated that Zera had approved an average tariff of 11,2c/kWh from 9,86c/kWh.
But, the 11,2c/kWH is lower than the price at which Zesa is importing electricity from South Africa and Mozambique as Mozambique’s EDM had bargained for a tariff of about 15c/kWh.