More of the same but much, much worse
Power cuts can now be expected in our cities starting from as early as 4.00 a.m. and lasting through to 10.00 p.m. or thereabouts, says the electricity utility. It is no longer that we have crippling 18 hour cuts by day, but rather that we might be lucky to get six hours of electricity at night.
Aside from the dire social consequences of this across the board, the government is also banning electric water geysers it says consume 40 percent of power in a household. A cut-off date is yet to be set but after that it will illegal to run an electric geyser, says Partson Mbiriri, the top official in the Ministry of Energy. A law is being drafted to ban the geysers in favour of solar power to heat our water. Quite how the changeover will be paid for isn’t clear.
Partson Mbiriri has the good grace to admit it is rather like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. He told the state Chronicle newspaper in Bulawayo it is “unfortunate the country is only reacting to power problems after they reached unprecedented levels.”
“We did not invest in the energy sector, the power sector, for many years. From 1987 to last year, we did not invest any money in additional power generation,’’ he said, describing this as a 25-year-long “blunder.”
But there is light at the end of the tunnel, according to Mbiriri. Several projects are under way and “come the end of 2017, we should experience material improvements. In 2018, we should be generating enough to meet our domestic requirements,” he said.