Residents wary of load-shedding

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BULAWAYO residents say they have no choice, but to adapt to increased load-shedding.
They hope Zesa will be able to produce more electricity after what the company described as planned maintenance exercises.

Blondie Ndebele

Zesa subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) said it will carry out a six-month expansive maintenance exercise, which will see increased power cuts between next month and February next year.

In separate interviews, residents said the electricity they were receiving on a daily basis was never enough, with some saying the situation got worse after the harmonised elections held on July 31.

Khulisani Ndlovu from Magwegwe suburb said increased load-shedding was going to affect the power company financially more than it was going to affect the residents.

“Residents will start looking for cheaper sources of energy,” he said.

“Using solar energy is more affordable than electricity. People will start buying solar panels and gas to cope with the situation.”

Another resident from Cowdray Park, Priority Sibanda, said the utility company should reduce their tariffs during the period when they will be carrying out their maintenance works.

“Pre-paid meter billing has made it easy for everyone, so the more they will be switching off electricity, the less the money they will be getting,” he said.
“We hope that by the end of their exercise, we will get better services.”
Some of the residents said they would learn to live without electricity if the power company had decided to deprive them of enough power.

“Does it mean that we will be going for two or more days without a sign of electricity? At the moment power is cut at around 5am and restored after 8pm,” Simphiwe Ndebele from Luveve suburb said.

She accused Zesa of failing to properly communicate with customers on the developments they will be undertaking.

Vimbai Ncube of New Lobengula said she would accept whatever the power utility had decided, but she was worried about her refrigerator, which she said was key to her business.

“I’m only worried about my chickens. Otherwise we don’t care about electricity anymore,” she said.

“There won’t be much of a difference since we can spend the whole day without electricity anyway.”

Some of the residents said they would continue fetching firewood even more because they could not afford alternative sources of energy. After a lull in load-shedding ahead of last month’s election, the power utility company, Zesa has reverted to cutting power, introducing a timetable with longer hours.