CONSUMERS and businesses are subjected to severe and dire power cuts
lasting over longer periods due to insufficient water levels at Kariba Dam to
drive the country’s main hydro-power plant, coupled with ageing infrastructure,
obsolete equipment, financing challenges and low uptake in investing in
renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind that could be the game
changers in wake of climate change issues that are now a reality.
The power outages have seen electricity being shed for up to 19 hours in some
residential areas, thus resulting in some businesses and homesteads running on
Others, who invested in solar as an alternative source have a sense of relief as
they can at least get energy, though the move could prove detrimental in
consumer purchase power as some business operations are likely to take
advantage by increasing their pricing structures on goods and services.
As alluded by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his weekly column in The
Sunday Mail, climate change is now a reality that has seen one of the largest
man-made dams recording low inflows, resulting in suspension of power
generation as directed by Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) that has affected both
Zimbabwe and Zambia.
This has resulted in implementing of severe load-shedding schedules, with
reports that as of 28 November, dam levels stood at 4.1percent according to
ZRA that manages water supply for the two Southern African nations.
“Until now many in our society thought climate change was merely academic –
not anymore after the decision last week by Zambezi River Authority to
drastically limit power generation at Kariba Dam.
Kariba generates almost half of our power needs, which is why a reduction in its
capacity immediately registers throughout our economy and in our lives,” said
Following social media comments on various platforms, one can feel consumer
concerns as they express outrage over incessant power cuts that have affected
their normal lives, with the World Cup Soccer currently underway in Qatar. It
means football lovers are unable to watch their favourite teams in the comfort of
their homes. They are having to endure paying an extra cost to watch games in
bars running on generators.
Its high time consumers and businesses invested in renewable sources of energy
at household levels by purchasing solar infrastructure that could be handy by
providing uninterrupted power supply at the same time enabling the national
power grid to continue supplying industry.
At the same time businesses need to invest heavily as well in alternative sources
of energy as we are a blessed nation with abundance of sunshine and wind that
could be used to generate the much-needed energy in times of need than over
reliance on Kariba Dam.
As we are in the festive season, consumers are bemoaning a dark Christmas that
has also affected provision of certain basic amenities among them constant
supply of clean, safe water with fears of outbreaks of water-borne diseases such
as cholera and dysentery among others that could affect consumers, even though
such medieval diseases had been eradicated in some countries this century.
*The writer is Media and Communications Officer of Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org