So let’s face reality and move away from Utopian slogans and hashtags. Things related to a lot of local services, especially power supply, haven’t been so good so far. This challenge with power is not going to get better any time soon either.
I can somehow overlook how a Dynamos match was affected by a power cut, but it’s taken me 24 hours to get reconnected onto the internet. It’s not my ISP that’s dropped the ball this time, it’s ZESA, the local power utility that has proven time and time again that utility providers can set the lowest bar for service delivery if you let them.
Last night, there was a nationwide power outage (“The nation was plunged into darkness”, that’s the media cliche`) and the powers that be went to great lengths to explain the problem we were experiencing. As a consumer and a citizen, I don’t think that makes it any fair or easier to deal with.
So what’s the solution? Well, folks, the only solution for all of us who are willing citizens of a digital world, (it’s funny how that also includes my grandmother who’s now fascinated with calling me on WhatsApp) is to get off the ZESA grid.
Yes, just leave the utility’s services and try other solutions that won’t surprise us with intermittent supply and offer press statements or State approved notices. Still don’t know where to start? You can try the following options that ought to get you started down the path of Power Uhuru.
1. Solar Power
After being confounded as being too impractical and difficult to setup, solar power is turning out to be a formidable solution. It’s clean, efficient and will still give you some relief that you are playing your part in stopping environmental rape.
We have a dedicated series of article on this, dubbed Solar Power for Dummies. It will help you figure out how to set it up and debunk myths about cost and efficiency. You can check out the articles on the links below.
2. The battery and Inverter
It’s fairly easy to set up, is great on the environment (no crazy sounds or fumes) and is probably the most convenient and light solution for the type of user who wants something for some essential tech hardware (some light inkjet printing works, but forget about this as a solution for your 3D printing business). The average setup cost for a 102Amh battery and a decent inverter is $350, but you can try some stockists that have advertised on Zim Classifieds.
3. The Generator
Judging by the noises that we all hear in any power deprived part of any city (Harare is turning into Lagos), this is still the most popular solution. With an $85 investment (check out some of the providers here) and some cash for the fuel (that’s where it loses points for me), you can consider yourself ready for some power whose availability you can control.
There’s no way this can be assumed to be an exhaustive or detailed list of power solutions for Zimbabwe. It’s just a peek into what you can consider as a way to forget about ZESA and its excuses, false promises, inconsistent load shedding schedules and consistent frustrations.
What other solutions have you used? What can you recommend?