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Former ZESA CEO Discusses the Roots of the Electricity Crisis

Former Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) CEO Engineer Joshua Chifamba has blamed unfavorable tariffs for the country’s current electricity crisis.

He speaks at a time when Zimbabwe is experiencing a massive power deficit, with both households and industry experiencing 18-hour or longer power outages, which authorities attribute to declining water levels at Kariba Dam.

According to NewsZimbabwe, he stated:

Kariba would thus change its operating regime & the wholesale price of electricity would be reduced, as imported peaking power was coming in at USc45/kWh, against a retail tariff of USc9/kWh.

This change was never supposed to be a threat to water in Kariba that it has become.

Thus, Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited, with the same capacity as ZESA at Kariba; but unlike ZESA having leverage to operate according to the new operating regime; after having built new power stations; has kept within its water allocation. It’s that simple!

So, the addition of generators at Kariba is not, in and of itself, the cause of the water problem at Kariba.

Issues in the sector have been left unresolved for far too long! The main Achilles heel have been sub economic tariffs and a challenging economic environment.

Chifamba said outside peak time, output at Kariba was supposed to reduce, to allow for increased output at peak.

Economists have since warned that should the electricity crisis continue unresolved, efforts made to revive the ailing economy will soon be reversed due to erratic productivity.

The government has however made some interventions which include revamping ZESA’s institutional sustainability and tabling plans for further expansion of the power generation capacity among others.

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