Bulawayo residents bemoan power cuts, call for load shedding schedule

BULAWAYO – Bulawayo residents have expressed displeasure over incessant power cuts and further urged the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) to consider publishing its load shedding schedule so they could strategically plan their use of the scarce resource.

This they said during a Thursday engagement meeting between the ZESA Holdings subsidiary and stakeholders who included residents, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) and the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU).

Zimbabwe’s power supplies, which have been erratic in past years, worsened in recent months with businesses premises and households now enduring 12-16 hours of load shedding in a day.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) chairperson, Ambrose Sibindi called on ZETDC to issue a clear and transparent load-shedding schedule specific to individual areas.

“Can we please have timetables that will guide residents about the blackouts.

“Can you not shed at night because that is when most of the vandalism happens?

“Copper cable thieves take advantage of this and pounce when power is disconnected,” he said.

Sibindi also implored ZETDC to provide connectivity timelines to new residential stands that are yet to receive electricity.

Bulawayo United Residents Association (BURA) chairperson, Winos Dube said power outages have become a risk to the lives of those living with some ailments while depending of instruments powered by electricity.

“Residents who live on medication that needs to be refrigerated all the time have been negatively affected as their health ends up deteriorating,” he said, adding that unannounced power cuts have also damaged household appliances.

ZETDC general manager in the Loss Control Department, Festo Madembo partially blamed the power crisis on rampant vandalism of the power utility’s infrastructure throughout the country.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage issues dealership licences to non-manufacturing and non-mining companies.

“Those copper dealership companies, some of them later on turn out to be vandals.

“How can we have dealership licences in a country that does not have copper mining?

“We also have the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The Ministry issues copper export licences to individuals, possibly to those who already have copper dealership licences.

“To do what? To export copper from a country where there is no copper mining. The only copper mine we had closed years ago.

“We are saying as ZESA, why do we issue these copper dealership licences? Issuing of these licences by these two ministries leads to vandalism,” Madembo said.

Madembo added that in 2021, company subsidiary ZENT, manufactured 281 transformers and 288 transformers were stolen in the same year.

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