The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has engaged Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) with the objective of having an appreciation on the ongoing maintenance works that have been halting industrial production.
The engagement comes after members of the business representative board, from various sectors of the economy raised concerns over no provision of a clear load shedding timetable that is adhered to for planning purposes and delayed attendance to faults, among others.
Giving welcome remarks to the engagement meeting last Wednesday in Bulawayo, ZNCC Matabeleland Chapter chairman Mr Mackenzie Dongo said some stakeholders considered the ongoing power outages being a cost burden to production and ultimately a cost to factory overheads.
“Business notes the successful ongoing maintenance works being done by the utility service provider ZETDC Southern Region.
However, there is need to have an understanding from ZETDC as some stakeholders consider the on-going power outages being a cost burden to production and ultimately a cost to factory overheads,” said Mr Dongo.
Giving an example, he said companies doing plastic manufacturing, incur massive production loss when power goes off as their sector needs consistent power supply.
Mr Dongo said as a chamber they felt that there was need to bridge the gap as a facilitator between ZETDC and stakeholders in a bid to have an appreciation of what the service provider was undertaking.
“ZNCC would also like to learn of the challenges that ZETDC is experiencing either from stakeholders or continued erroneous tender bidding which is often an outcry from industry.
We also thrive to proffer proposals on power management so that production is not disturbed.”
Highlighting other key concerns aired by stakeholders, Mr Dongo said delayed attendance to faults was also disrupting businesses production and service delivery.
Weighing in, ZNCC Matabeleland Region Vice President Mr Louis Herbst inquired why the industrial site was on power all night when production is low.
“Proper industrial power management needs to be put in place, such as load shedding the industrial site when it is not at its peak and or load shed the residential areas during the day rather.”
He said there was need for soliciting and identifying strategic partners to invest in solar plants such as private public partnerships.
Mr Herbst said the process of investing on solar plants has been expressed to be rigid by some of the investors and interventions on a clearly laid down procedures were paramount.
He also suggested that there was need to digitalize and have an application that will with ease be used by customers to learn of any power outages and the expected restoration period, among others.
ZETDC Western region manager, Mr Lloyd Jaji said load shedding was due to reduced power generation and imports which are below demand.
“Efforts to increase both generation and imports are underway.
Hwange expansion (600mw additional) in progress. This will reduce or eliminate the deficit,” he said.
In terms of delays in response to faults, Mr Jaji said it was due to shortage of resources that include vehicles, tools and spares, but the organisation was doing something to mitigate this situation.
“As a means of addressing delays or not responding to calls or unprofessional response, the staff will be engaged and trained so as to improve, while resourcing will also assist as maintenance will be done reducing number of faults at a time.”
He said in terms of customer supplied materials they were being compensated by crediting their accounts, while for supply of meters for new connections, clients could buy these from approved suppliers and these will be treated as customer supplied materials.