Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The restructuring of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority is set to make the parastatal viable, boost its power generation capacity and enhance the expansion of the local power supply network, a senior Government official has said.
In an interview on the sidelines of the official opening of a $2 million Petrotrade service station in Beitbridge last week, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development Mr Patson Mbiriri said after restructuring, Zesa would redirect the use of their revenue towards discharging its full mandate.
He said the organisation had five separate entities, with each having similar structures, among them boards, directors and chief executives. Some of the entities under Zesa include the Zimbabwe Power Company, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company, Zesa Enterprises and Powertel Communications.
“The idea of having too many companies under one organisation with similar structures is not working at all and hence the need to restructure Zesa into one productive entity,” said Mr Mbiriri.
“We have adequate power in the country at the moment, but nonetheless, we have gone through a period of power shortages, and it didn’t make sense to increase the network even with the existing customers. At some point we were load-shedding and only now can we extend the local grid and network to incorporate new customers as we accelerate power development countrywide.
“Of course, that will call for resources on the part of Government and Zesa. This is the reason why the company is being restructured so that it is able to direct most of its revenue to infrastructure development as opposed to a situation where there were five companies. That scenario was costing Zesa a lot of revenue.”
Mr Mbiriri said Zesa had moved a gear up towards connecting more customers.
He said the prepaid metre system adopted by Zesa three years ago, had proved to be fruitful, with a total of 613 000 prepaid metres having been installed countrywide.
“This is a feat that has surprised many utilities in the developed and the developing world, that we can make such a huge success within a short space of time,” said Mr Mbiriri. “In many jurisdictions, this should have taken longer than necessary to bear fruit. It can be and it shall be done.”
Mr Mbiriri commended authorities at Beitbridge Municipality for promoting rapid infrastructure development in the last decade.
He said due to its proximity to South Africa, the town presented a lot of investment opportunities, which should be fully exploited.
Petrotrade acting chief executive Mr Godfrey Ncube said the Beitbridge project, which was initiated in 2009 and would house a truck stop, a shopping complex, a service station, among other amenities, was being implemented in phases.
“This project was meant for completion in 2010, but was delayed due to the unavailability of resources and the unbundling on National Oil Company of Zimbabwe,” he said.