HARARE – National power utility, Zesa Holdings (Zesa), says it plans to install 30 000 prepaid meters in the coming three months under the 100 days Rapid Results Initiative.
Energy minister Simon Khaya Moyo said the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) is licensing private agencies who will sell prepayment meters to the public under the customer supplied meter scheme.
“Under this scheme, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) will set a maximum amount of money to be reimbursed to customers by crediting their accounts for the cost of meters.
“This programme will augment the meters to be supplied by the two companies which won the tender; that is Paramount and Solutions for Africa (SFA),” he said.
These companies have already been contracted by ZETDC to supply 130 000 prepaid meters. To date, Paramount has delivered only 14 166 prepaid meters with a remaining balance of 75 834 prepaid meters.
SFA has delivered 20 000 prepaid meters with a remaining balance of 20 000 again.
“All these constraints are due…to foreign currency scarcity. We hope that as we have discussed with the governor of the Reserve Bank, we shall at some stage, see the speeding up of the production of these prepaid meters,” he told Parliament last week.
Khaya Moyo further indicated that Zesa used to install 4 000 prepaid meters per week before foreign currency shortages.
“Regrettably, the situation has changed now with a few hundred meters being installed per week. As indicated above, we shall continue exploring other ways and means of procuring these meters so as to effectively meet the demand,” he added.
Information gathered by the businessdaily show that Zimbabwe has managed to save over 110 Megawatts (MW) of electricity, the size of a small power station and about a tenth of current output, since pre-paid meters were introduced in 2012.
The southern African country’s current output, including imports from regional electricity suppliers, was 1,190MW as of Friday, against peak demand of 2,200MW.
The power deficit has affected industry and households, which often go for hours without electricity.
Apart from the savings from the pre-paid metering project, Zimbabwe has managed to stabilise its power supply situation through the imports of up to 400MW from regional suppliers such as South Africa’s Eskom, which has a discretionary agreement with Zesa for off-peak supplies.
Zimbabwe also imports power from Mozambique.