BY NIZBERT MOYO
THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has engaged Zesa Holdings subsidiary, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) over power outages.
ZNCC Bulawayo chapter chairperson Mackenzie Dongo told NewsDay that the engagement was meant to ensure that industries appreciate ZETDC’s current maintenance works that have been affecting production across the country.
ZNCC met ZETDC at the Chamber of Commerce boardroom on August 3.
“The chamber feels there is need to bridge the gap as a facilitator between ZETDC and stakeholders in a bid to have an appreciation of what the service provider is undertaking. Some stakeholders consider the on-going power outages as a cost burden to production and ultimately a cost to factory overheads,’’ Dongo said.
He indicated that companies in plastic manufacturing incurred massive production losses when power went off; adding that the sector needed consistent power supply.
Through the engagements, the chamber sought to learn the challenges ZETDC was experiencing.
“There have been concerns aired by stakeholders and these are as follows: Delayed attendance to faults; no provision of a clear load shedding timetable that is adhered to for planning purposes; customer service lines are never answered; customers are advised to purchase cables if there has been theft and they are promised electricity tokens but this never happens; and the cost burden of theft is always left to the customers,’’ Dongo said, proposing that industrial sites must not be on power all night when production is low.
ZNCC also suggested that proper industrial power management should be put in place, while load shedding should affect industrial sites during off-peak periods, and residential areas during the day from 7am to 5pm.
ZETDC Bulawayo regional manager Lloyd Jaji said power outages were chiefly being caused by load shedding and faults.
“Load shedding is itself due to reduced power generation and imports. We are working to increase imports on one hand and generation on the other. For generation, we have to increase availability of existing units in addition to the expansion of Hwange. The majority of faults are a result of vandalism, which must be stopped one way or the other,” Jaji said.