By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
11 June 2014
Some Harare residents will go for 16 hours without electricity, the latest load shedding schedule from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority indicates.
The hardest-hit suburbs are those that fall under the H18 and H14 category. These include Kambuzuma, Westwood, and parts of Warren Park, where there will be no electricity every day of the week from 5am to 9pm.
Similarly affected are Widdecombe, Wilmington Park, Msasa Park, Mandalay Park, Queensdale, Epworth, and Cranborne Park.
The rest of the suburbs will be without power for at least 9 hours. However major hospitals, sewer installations, national security establishments, key airports and broadcasting stations have been spared.
There will be little disruption also for winter wheat farmers and those in the central business district.
ZESA’s severe schedule will be in place for the next two months to counter the increased consumption during the cold season.
“Zimbabwe’s seasonal peak power demand occurs during the winter months of June and July, when maximum demand rises.
“To this end, ZESA has put in place measures to boost power generation and reduce consumption in order to minimise load shedding.
“In spite of the measures, power supply shortfalls will still be experienced,” ZESA said in a statement this week.
The load shedding exercise has dealt a blow to football lovers who are set to miss out on the FIFA World Cup 2014, which kicks off Thursday until mid-July.
The Zim national team is a perennial disappointment but the Brazil football spectacular would have been the perfect chance for fans to watch some world class displays on TV. A Glen Norah resident told the Herald newspaper that he felt let down by ZESA.
Manufacturing production will also take a knock as the country’s industries are already reeling under the effects of the economic meltdown.
In an interview with the state media Charles Msipa, head of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, said ZESA needs to start prioritising industries when planning its power outages.
“Many of them are trying against all odds to retain and build market exports and these outages will have a negative impact.
“They should always consult first, not just pick what they think are strategic areas as they leave other areas as they did,” Msipa told the Herald on Tuesday.
The power utility firm is also heavily in debt and owes one of its suppliers, Hydro Cabora of Mozambique, millions of dollars for electricity.
Since load shedding was officially introduced as an energy saving measure in 2007, urban dwellers are forced to go to a lot of trouble to for otherwise straightforward activities such as preparing meals, watching TV, or for school children to do homework.
Last year the ZANU PF government ordered an unbudgeted debt relief for households, a move which deprived ZESA of a millions of dollars in revenue.
Observers also point to the general inefficiency, corruption and maladministration as the major reasons why ZESA is failing to meet the nation’s electricity demands.
“These problems will persist unless ZANU PF stops appointing its friends to head such institutions. What we need are professionals who will be remunerated based on performance, and who know that for the economy to thrive, businesses need to have uninterrupted power supply,” economic analyst Masimba Kuchera said.
“The government should also fund electricity infrastructure upgrades, revamp additional power generating projects like the Hwange Thermal Power Station, and license private players,” Kuchera told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday.