HARARE – Power utility Zesa Holdings (Zesa) is considering introducing a scheme that will see users contributing to the maintenance and repair of their communities’ electricity infrastructure.
This comes as Zesa’s efforts to replace vandalised equipment are being hampered by financial challenges, against increased vandalism of transformers and power lines.
Speaking in the National assembly last week, Energy and Power Development minister Simon Khaya Moyo said: “ZETDC is currently pursuing a scheme that involves contributions by beneficiaries of the network.”
“These schemes take time to produce results as communities must buy into them first and then start making contributions in cash or materials. Please note that in the past, such projects were funded by grants and loans that have been difficult to secure lately,” he said.
Khaya moyo added “there are a lot of reticulation and electrification projects countrywide which are at various stages of construction that are being affected by resource constraints”.
“The rate of electrification countrywide is being affected by the availability of financial resources.
“The material, especially conductors and transformers, that had been procured for network expansion have had to be used to restore electricity supplies to areas affected by vandalism,” he said.
“Vandalism of lines and transformers has recently increased and the ZETDC is battling to maintain electricity supplies to existing customers,” he added.
“Not only is vandalism a dastardly drain, but it is a serious drain on resources which could have been used in areas which are currently not serviced with electricity.
“Equally, it is difficult to plan because no sooner is power equipment installed than it is vandalised and thus needs to be replaced. Alarmingly, Speaker, it is replaced and soon after it is vandalised yet again, thereby setting in motion a vicious circle.”
“Efforts are being made by ZETDC to procure materials to complete current projects (work in progress) and then to expand the network into new areas.”
He further said: “We are faced with financial resource problems and of course transformers as the member has asked in his supplementary budget are not manufactured here.
“If they are, very few are, but we have to import the raw materials for those transformers, which raw materials are in short supply.
“On the importation; we have already done that for transformers.
“I am aware that those companies which won the tender to import them are struggling also with foreign currency problems as I speak but they are doing their best to bring them.
“This is why I say in we are encouraging those who can bring them on their own, we can compensate them and this is the scheme we are working on as well.”