Let’s blame ZESA & Govt, but the “banned geyser” isn’t such a bad idea

Nigel Gambanga Avatar

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.


  1. fourwallsinaroom

    where is Saith when you need them 😉

    1. macd chip

      Imagine that awesome power energy they can generate from little to no resource input…

      1. Don

        Quit right, is there ever going to be a better opportunity for Saith Technologies to showcase their technical prowess that to come to the rescue of a nation in dire straits? What are they waiting for? Or maybe, just maybe, they were trying to sell us bottled smoke!

        1. Ndini Wenyu


    2. Khal Drogo

      What more can we expect from ZESA if the IT Manager takes home 7k, Systems Administrator 3,7k and I.T Officer 2.8K per month (after tax). South Africa adding more nuclear power station while our government is busy looting.

      1. Rr

        Zim needs to change its priorities those giys you mentioned might not have had a single original idea in years. But fired or fristrated those who did.
        I mean a ripple relay is hust sitting there in a lot of peoples meter voxes top be used until the gvt can subsidise installation of solat geysers lets say over 5 uears and you pay 7 a month to add ipto 320 in credits and the difference is for interest.

  2. Nqobile Ncube

    Given that there seems to be not much option I guess then the options must kick in. I am thinking of subsidised solar geysers and maybe to even a greater extent duty free gas stoves and a reduced LPG import tariff rate.

    I have always envisaged a house lit by solar (given these inverters and batteries being bandied around these days), gas driven fridges and stoves and just Usd 10 a month of pre paid Zesa in case.

    But for this to be possible Government has to play ball by incentivising the use of alternate energies by subsidising or actually enabling a duty free environment for the required gadgets.

    1. Anonymous

      there will be no subsidised solar geysers. The failed state has never successfully implemented any project. They should have invested in energy since 1980 as opposed to awarding themselves unjustifiable benefits

      1. L.S.M Kabweza

        The failed state has never successfully implemented any project.

        the dude suggests incentives. Zim gov at one point waived duty on computers, phones and other IT equipment, and the results were there for all to see. Surely they can do the same for solar equipment.

        1. Anthony Somerset

          yeah such moves are stupid without suitable incentives and reasonable timelines to comply

        2. jmachache

          the cellphone was the brainchild of the young brains in the like of Chamisa. The dinosours can not implement well thought out roll outs. CRIMINALISING, really without talking incentives. that the most dense idea i have had. so police will be climbing into ceilings to check that the geyser was pulled down or not connected?

    2. L.S.M Kabweza


  3. Inini

    Imi!!!!! we come up with unverifiable stats on power savings ko what about losses in terms of revenue??? these guys come up with ideas that they have no wish of carrying out to the end. What happened to prepaid electricity??? Implement the prepaid system in full and let those who can afford pay. at this rate tinosonzi tirikushandisa maovens too much and we have to change to my 2 plate asina oven

    1. Taurai B

      As well as losses in terms of jobs, of which enough have been lost already in Zimbabwe. There are companies that specialise in geyser manufacturing which are going to become irrelevant.

  4. Anonymous

    Bullshit. I prepay for the electricity i use, I can do what i want with it. The so called “savings” 300MW (which is more bullshit) will directly impact the amount of revenue they collect. The fat cats own solar geyser companies and want to make money

    1. Agreed

      Agreed some fat cats plans to make money.
      Now lets see what EMA does because next there is going to be even more destruction of forests.
      Just invest all money in prepaid meters and fast track.
      And if this solution was so simple why hasn’t SA implemented it they spend more money educating users on electricity usage than Zim entire annual budget for the country every year.

  5. Madodoya

    So nguva ye drought tichanzi tidye less sadza? Ma bonus aka banwa, ma extra lessons aka banwa, ma vendor aka banwa. Isu povho ngatimbo banawo president ne party yake…

  6. Nqobile Ncube

    Inini I fully agree with you. Does anyone have an idea how many meters are there on the Zesa grid and of those how many are on prepaid?

    I have in mind how much risk free turn over Econet and company are gaining over prepaid and I then fail to reconcile how Zesa could still be battling .

    Again if more prepaid users were to use less energy then by now Zesa would have surplus power for export ….

    Something is not adding up. #methinks

  7. sida

    Why cant they just ration electricity (units) per household per dae. Program the meters to allow usage of a specific amount of electricity per dae for every household. That wae i load shed on my own. Recently even if they switch me off for the whole day, its also impossible for me not to find enough money to juice electricity to “heat up water for flushing.”

    1. fourwallsinaroom

      whoa whoa whoa… dont even go there! You can not compare a house that has six meters one per tenant per room. vs a full house. If you pay for your power you have a right to use it. I know of a very specific area that worked out as a road a solution to the power woes. instead of all getting little generators they all chipped in, put a proposal to zesa and got a generator hat runs the whole road. The monthlies are around $60 regardless of power going or not.

  8. macd chip

    So all the noise about prepared meters was a scam?

    People were forced to install them in the name of paying what you are using, so whats wrong with using guiser when l can afford to pay for it.

    How did they came up with 300W number? Who made the survey that switching guisers will save electricity by that number?

    Where was the survey carried out?

  9. Form 4

    A third of the power generated by Zesa is used by geysers ( 984MW /300MW )
    I repeat,
    A third of the power generated by Zesa is used by geysers ( 984MW /300MW )

    dzimwe maths dzatombo udzwa so ka, hameno…

    1. Boyz dzangu

      Hahaha dzimwe maths so

    2. L.S.M Kabweza

      yeah, that figure doesn’t seem anywhere close to the truth.

  10. Nyasha

    These guys must stop talking rubbish and find alternative ways to generate electricity such as encouraging use of alternative power or better yet open up the industry for alternative players to join!

  11. Anonymous

    Moving to renewal inputs of power is always a good idea, its how its implemented that always the problem. Zesa and Gov have failed time and time again, and when things are screwed up royally its the people who pay the price and soon to become criminals but not them.

    For years they should of been educating people to move to renewable but no, they would rather force meters on people to line there pockets from back channeling because paying the the electricity you use does not help the country.

    Now they want to force geysers on us which wouldn’t be a problem but again we’ll be lining there pockets again because they have no transparency and as someone said earlier the fat cats are probably owners after winning a supposedly fair tender.

    They all need to take responsibility and share the burden they continue to place on us to save the country while having a health salary. How about they import the panels themselves and sell it to us at cost price(keeping everything transparent for once), because we will now need to pay someone to remove our old geysers and install the new one with everything we supposed to need.

    Can they please just stop punishing us, we pay our bills, tax and fix our on roads, locate our own water, create our own jobs etc but but we get back less then nothing from them other than the privilege of complaining about them

  12. No way

    Techzim and Nigel, I think you are very gullible to accept without a pinch of salt that geysers use 300MW out of 984MW. Really guys? I mean, close your eyes for a minute and think about that. Do people spend the whole day emptying geysers for fun. Mine has been switched off since last year!

  13. No way

    By the Way Nigel, its actually a bad idea. Next, we are going to ban electric irons and force people to use ma iron emarasha. Or we are going to ban 4 plate stoves. I mean, where does it end? Its a slippery slope!

  14. mistakes_in_action

    no problem in this but in some countries such as Sa they actually subsidisy the solar geysers in zim they expect you the consumer to pay full payment which is sort of weird.
    I think a target lets say 2020 to completely ban the geysers and then subbing the cost until consumers installed is best. and ps would a ripple relay or smart meter be better since they could switch off geysers remotely whne load exceeds.
    Ps they installed ripple relays over 10 yuears ago in many houses but soemhow some1 @Zesa forgot abput that tech. cz in the end how do you monitor my usage without such a tool .

  15. tinm@n

    Very dull and lacking in thought.
    Who will fund the process? – removal and retrofit
    Can the general populace afford it?
    Who actually has a long-running geyser throughout the day besides these wealthy, hotelhopping, luxury-car-riding and uneducated ministers and their secretaries?
    Is it because him and his circles do so?
    Is he living in the same Zimbabwe where the majority of people have shut down their geysers and rely on other cheaper means of heating?
    Whom amongst the majority has a geyser on throughout the day on a prepaid meter, which by the way was a good idea to get people to keep count of usage?
    Outright banning of something that is infrastructurally standard in a household. What idiot thought this was a bright idea?

    Brilliant idea, but timing and leadership is all wrong.

  16. Anonymous

    Think most peoples geysers in the country are off since there’s barely any water

  17. justin

    How did they get to the 300mw out of 1000mw generated? How much is going to Industry?, farmers? What about the CBDs of every town in Zimbabwe?

    Some idiot did not realise that the power is not even available during the day time when geysers are off and there is enough electricity between 10pm and 5am when there is enough zesa for everyone!

    1. justin

      * 10pm and 5am when geysers are on

  18. Investor

    Dear ZESA CEO and Board. Kindly note that your incompetence is clear to all… A school student of almost any age could do a better job than you… You have a monopoly, everyone wants your product and we pre-pay for it… How can a business like this fail?? You are a disgrace without exception… Now to the countries leadership, the same leadership who reads the same speach twice without noticing is now an expert on the cause of the ZESA shorage… Really! You disgrace yourself daily, with your incompetence and lack of logic…

  19. Truth

    Folks…all your comments are for fun no one is listening. We are on our own folks…country on auto pilot.

  20. tic

    What??? Ban geysers???

    Its like asking me to take off my car air con on the grounds that it adds up to my fuel consumption.

    It doesn’t work. i installed the geyser because i want it and i afford to pay the bill. ZESA should simply find ways of utilising the monies levied on electricity bills to either generate power or import power. The sad thing is we are already pre-paying for what we will consume, so where is the fuss about the geysers???

    Who came up with the 300mw number???? Strange and wierd!!!!!

  21. Sipho

    Its a chicken and egg situation. Without money Zimbabwe cant buy or generate power, without power there is no income. The less they supply the more I put in my backup power and the less they earn. Less income means less profit and a higher percentage to fixed overheads so less to use to repair anything.
    Face facts. Sort your own power needs now. Its only going to get worse. Make sure you but from companies not owned by fatcats or ministers who will see this as a way to line their pockets further!

  22. fourwallsinaroom

    A better move in my thoughts is say right keep your electric geysers but here is the story. Each household can have 2hours of geyser time per day. There are timers for instance i use the geyserwise max solution. i programmed three times that my geyser comes on. it comes on at 5am to 630am in time for a hot bath before work. It then comes on at 430pm if the water from solar is below 55degrees so that the little one has a bath. Finally it comes on in the evening for 30 minutes..which is plenty for hot water as the little one could never drain the whole geyser.

  23. Rr

    Zesa has ripple relays installed in quite a few homes from over adecade ago. These allow them to remotely switch off geysers.
    Bt some1 @Zesa either 4gt or was given 3months notice.
    Or most probarly some1 sees a huge kickback coming rheir way

  24. gh

    Many years ago all geysers were fed with electricity via a frequency cut out switch. So when the demand was getting too high ZESA sent the control signal and geysers were switch off. When peak demand dropped the geysers were switched on again.

  25. Khal Drogo

    What more can we expect from ZESA if the IT Manager takes home 7k, Systems Administrator 3,7k and I.T Officer 2.8K per month (after tax). South Africa adding more nuclear power station while our government is busy looting.

  26. munya

    zim govt should subsidize the solar geysers. they are expensive.

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