Outrage over Zesa load-shedding

0
86

BULAWAYO residents have expressed outrage over increasing power outages in the past few days lasting for up to 11 hours per day, particularly in the high-density suburbs.

NQOBANI NDLOVU
STAFF REPORTER

Most Bulawayo suburbs were engulfed in darkness at around 6:30pm on Wednesday after power was abruptly cut off. Residents reported that their lights flickered for several minutes before power went off.

The residents said the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply and Distribution Company (ZETDC) authorities should have notified them of plans to increase load-shedding.

“The situation has been bad since last week. For example, there was no electricity when I woke up on Monday morning on Africa Day and it was only restored at around 3pm,” Mkhosi Sibanda of Magwegwe West said.

Sibongile Moyo of Cowdray Park suburb said: “It (load-shedding) has increased compared to previous weeks as we are now being subjected to long hours without electricity. They should have notified us of the plans to increase load-shedding so that we plan ahead by looking for money for firewood and paraffin.”

Godfrey Nyatanga of Pumula North suburb echoed their sentiments but added that what pained him the most was that “we do not have pre-paid meters yet ZETDC at the end of the month will still demand its monies for electricity that we did not use”.

ZETDC technicians recently descended on Pumula North disconnecting power to residents over outstanding bills. The suburb is one of the many that still do not have pre-paid meters two years after the ZETDC began rolling out the project.

ZETDC southern regional manager Lovemore Chinaka yesterday said he was not aware of the cause of Wednesday night’s abrupt cuts as he was in Harare and would have to be on the ground to advance a sound explanation.

Chinaka said his offices only get instructions to load shed from the head office in Harare, but could not explain the cause of the increased load-shedding saying he had been out of the office.

“I have not been in the office recently and I suggest you contact the head office,” he said. “They are looking at the issue at a national level.”

Zesa Holdings national spokesperson Fullard Gwasira was not answering his mobile phone when Southern Eye called him for comment.

Zimbabweans have been subjected to load-shedding for years. Economists said this affected industry as most companies have had to cut short their operating hours while the intermittent power cuts have also affected plant and machinery, some of which need constant power supplies.