POWER utility Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC) has blamed its failure to restore supplies in some areas for as much as three months on vandalism and theft of transformer oil.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
The company has said it is losing millions annually through theft and vandalism of its infrastructure by thieves.
The targeted infrastructure by the thieves includes copper lines and cables and the transformers.
In a statement, the ZETDC said the continued theft and vandalism of its infrastructure was severely impacting on its operations, threatening its ability to ensure continuous supply of electricity when there is a breakdown.
“The ZETDC wishes to advise its valued customers that it is facing challenges in restoring supply in areas which infrastructure would have been vandalised.
“There has been an upsurge of faults arising from the theft and vandalism of copper conductors, transformers and transformer oil resulting in ZETDC failing to secure adequate strategic spares,” the power distribution company said.
Government has responded to the crisis by imposing a minimum 10-year sentence on those convicted of stealing electricity infrastructure, but that has not stopped daring thieves.
“As a result, most of our customers have experienced supply outages of up to three months. ZETDC is doing everything possible to minimise the outages.
“Customers are called upon to be vigilant and report any suspicious persons or vehicles around power infrastructure in their neighbourhoods. These should be reported to the police or the nearest customer service centre.”
Reports say transformers are stripped of their copper windings, oil, bolts and nuts, while clean transformer oil has been traced to restaurants where it is used to fry food due to its high-burn point.
Transmission pylons, on the other hand, have been pushed over and stripped of angle irons, nuts and bolts, which are found on two-wheeled scotch carts.