Busi­nesses hit hard by power out­ages

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Leonard Ncube re­cently in Binga

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

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