18-hour power cuts: Zim business on edge

Business Top Stories Zimbabwe

Belinda Chaora

Zimbabwe is set to increase its load shedding hours from 10 hours a day to 18 hours a day after an announcement by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, Zesa recently that load shedding is being implemented at Stage 2 levels. In a statement the power utility said: “Load shedding is now being implemented over and above the advertised schedule.”

Zesa blames the reduced power output on the loss of Eskom imports after the South African power utility announced on Monday, that it would move to Stage 4 load shedding. However,  Energy and power development Minister Fortune Chasi yesterday refuted this claim at a news briefing, saying imports from Eskom would remain the same. 

But will South Africa maintain imports to its neighbor and if it cuts down on them what impact will this have on Zimbabwe?

A survey carried out recently by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) said 65% of businesses in the country have indicated that they only access power for zero to 6 hours a day.

The effects on production are varied: 90% of the businesses have lost revenue through poor communications, delayed submissions or failure to meet deadlines while 55% said they are creating poor quality products because of rushed work, and 10% have complained of lost or damaged electrical equipment.

ZNCC has joined the growing chorus pushing for the Zimbabwean Government to throw businesses a life line by financing the installation of renewable energy units at favourable lending rates. Zesa has commissioned the installation of solar units at its offices in Harare as the drive to use renewable energy gathers momentum.