By now most of us have had a taste of the long power cuts introduced by ZESA, the local power utility concern. This strategy, which is aimed at preserving the limited energy being produced for the national grid, has naturally added to the frustrations of Zimbabweans trying to make the most of a tough economy.
While all this happening, citizens have learnt to blame ZESA and the Ministry of Energy and Power Development. After all, these two entities are behind the failure of local power and they come up with strategies that never seem to work.
The latest suggestion for power management involving the phasing out of electric geysers has also been criticised as another ZESA/Government Ministry Policy that won’t work or really improve the situation.
The concerns that are being raised by people on various platforms regarding this issue are genuine. This idea, like most State strategies, has its fair share of holes.
The country needs to be focusing more on power generation if we are to really pull ourselves out of this crisis. Whatever “mega-deals” that were ushered in as part of an economic turnaround need to be followed up on and implemented instead of being left to deliberations. Where bad decisions are made at ZESA or the Ministry, changes to the management should follow.
Regarding the specifics of the banned geyser strategy, the powers that be need to brace for the challenges of implementation and monitoring, two aspects that are almost always affected by poor controls and the cancer of corruption.
However, there’s some merit to this geyser madness. The perceived benefits that come from the relief to the grid will be, according to reported statements from the Energy and Power Development Permanent Secretary, Partson Mbiriri, savings of 300MW to the national power grid.
That’s a significant contribution to the grid, considering that we are reportedly generating 984 MW. 300MW is hardly enough to completely change the power dynamics for the country, and represents defence rather than offence – something that is hardly the best way to handle a national energy policy.
To be fair though, it’s a starting point. Alternative energy becoming a nationally recognised avenue to power management is where a lot of our long-term national energy strategy should be focused on. granted it’s been thrown into the mix as a cure of a symptom, not the actual problem, but it does start the often long winding debate on what can work for the future of the country.
Our investment in energy should be geared to that, with other solutions that seem hard to comprehend now being explored. In as much as Mbiriri took on the villainous role of announcing this highly criticised banned geysers strategy, he also mentioned something that should have a huge impression on Zimbabweans.
In the Herald article that started all this and even in the following report, he pointed out that we have a crisis that will be with us for the foreseeable future and admitted that the government hasn’t scored any points on power generation since 1987.
All this suggests that when we have proposed solutions for on power saving, however ridiculous they might sound, we need to consider how best to implement them and perhaps use them as springboards for smarter policies for the future.