Businesses hit hard by power outages
24 Independent Power Producers to invest in power generation and the projects are at different stages of completion. Zimbabwe is one of the countries in Sadc experiencing a power deficit due to lack of investment in energy projects.
Electricity demand has in recent years continued to outstrip supply due to factors such as increased population growth. - @okazunga RETAIL shops and fishing industry operators in Binga say they have lost in excess of $100 000 worth of perishable goods because of a three-week power outage that affected the district recently.
Operators who spoke to Business Chronicle said they were forced to dispose of products such as meat, vegetables and dairy foods, which were no longer good for consumption.
Binga Business Association chairman Mr Pilate Dube said some butcheries had already closed shop after watching helplessly as their meat products decayed in fridges due to lack of electricity.
A few who had generators tried to keep perishables such as meat, dairy and vegetable products but lost in the end because of the excessive heat.
“I had just slaughtered three beasts and also stocked fish and chicken worth a combined $4 000 and they all went bad while in the fridge. Almost all butchery operators lost full carcasses while fish dealers at the Crocodile Farm where we all get fish tried to dry their fish with fire but to no avail,” said Mr Dube.
Shops and restaurants reportedly had to drive about 60km out of Binga centre to get water from boreholes as they could not prepare meals using raw water from the Zambezi River, which residents were now drinking.
“My combined loss is $15 000 and we have calculated in excess of $100 000 worth of business lost by all players in Binga since last week.
“This ranges from perishable products and opaque beer, which people were no longer buying because it was now sour,” said Mr Dube.
People were also no longer buying from shops as lack of electricity meant they could not swipe to benefit from plastic money.
Mr Dube called on the Zimbabwe National Water Authority and Zesa to consider the plight of businesses and residents and urgently address the situation.
“As we speak we do not even know when the situation will normalise because there is no one to update us. We are concerned as the business community because some players are likely not to come back into business after losing their stocks,” he added.
Mr Kenias Chigwagwa, who chairs Kujatana Byesu Union, an association of 47 kapenta and fish cooperatives, said they stopped operating because of lack of power.
“We did not get any warning that there would be a power outage and as a result we lost more than 500kg of fish in the cold-room.
“Some of the cooperatives might not be able to rise from the crisis and we are still calculating the actual monetary loss,” said Mr Chigwagwa.
Binga is facing critical electricity challenges because power lines between Binga and Hwange have fallen while a transformer, which supplies the district, also got burnt at Deka near Hwange.
Lack of electricity means lack of water for Binga as Zinwa pumps directly from the Zambezi River to residential areas.
All business centres, schools and clinics along the Cross Dete-Hwange road have no electricity and water. - @ncubeleon
Hwange Thermal Power Station is producing 282MW