Magaisa Speaks On Zimbabwe Energy Crisis
This is for Minister Chasi and the Government. Credible information which I have seen from ZESA suggests that there could be a total shutdown of the Kariba power plant by October 2019. This is due to dwindling water levels and overuse of the resource under the circumstances.
It’s now common knowledge that ZESA charges for electricity are sub-economic. In other words, there’s a huge subsidy for electricity which cannot be sustained now or in the long run. It applies to both commercial and ordinary consumers.
An oddity is that major power users, such as mines, pay the same tariff as ordinary consumers in Mabvuku and Nkulumane in local currency. In other words, the state subsidises both commercial entities and ordinary consumers. It doesn’t make economic sense given the disparities.
Let’s consider this: When Tawanda in Mbare flies to Dubai he flies economy class – cheaper and accords with his pocket. Seats are small and the food is basic. A company executive flies business class. The company can afford. Why can’t the same principle apply to electricity?
It doesn’t solve the problem entirely but it mitigates the losses. Airlines survive on business and first-class, not the economy, but everyone flies. Given our circumstances, it makes no sense for commercial entities to be on the same tariff and currency as ordinary consumers.
Better still, give concessions to mines and other commercial entities to generate their own electricity using renewable energy. Give them tax breaks and other concessions so that they don’t depend on the national grid. The extra they generate could go to the national grid.
If they can pool resources they could help refurbish thermal power plants and create more sources of energy. That will bring relief to the national grid without having to subsidise them. Just my two cents worth of thoughts on this and others. Same principle for water, etc
Post-script: I just spoke to someone who has experience in the industry. Some of these big power users are actually indebted to ZESA. Like political elites, they also owe ZESA huge amounts despite the sub-economic charges. Debt collection is a major problem I hear Minister Chasi.