“It’s The Same As Not Having Electricity” – Zimbabweans Speak On Load-shedding

By Agencies

Some Zimbabweans have said having electricity at night, for a few hours, is the same as not having electricity since there is not much they can use the power.

Most parts of the country get power at night as ZESA, the local power utility, is trying to manage a power crisis.

One Harare resident told BBC that the situation needs to be resolved before it degenerates into a “disaster.” He was quoted as saying:

There is no schedule – yesterday we got it at 10 past 10 but it is passed that time now. Electricity is very essential in our business… From what the government officials are saying we hope this [situation] should turn around soon. If it doesn’t it will be a disaster.

A 43-year-old Wella Chidziva from Mbare said load-shedding was giving citizens a hard time. She told BBC:

We now give each other chances to cook, one over there and another there. It’s the same as not having electricity because when it comes around [midnight] the children are sleeping. Now we are in [the Christmas period] I don’t know what we are going to do.

Some businesses have started working at night while ordinary Zimbabweans are also being forced to change their schedules, to wake up at midnight to iron their clothes, use electric appliances and catch up on the World Cup matches.

Zimbabwe has used about US$2 billion dollars (£1.6bn) for power generation in the last decade but the country still struggles with outages.

The crisis escalated at the end of November when the Zambezi River Authority ordered Zimbabwe’s Kariba South power station to shut down due to dangerously low water levels.

Experts say the country’s coal-powered thermal plants are supposed to supply the baseload power, but the aged generators frequently break down forcing authorities to draw heavily on Kariba.

The country is currently producing about 500 megawatts (MW) of power against a daily peak demand of 2 200 MW.

Energy expert Victor Utedzi who founded the solar farm Centragrid, 30km (19 miles) northwest of the capital, says there is no easy and quick solution to power problems.

He said Zimbabwe needs big projects such as the Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station to dent the problems the southern African nation is facing.


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