Zimbabweans have consumed as much as 50 million kilogrammes of ZESA in the past five years according to the latest estimates by the Zimbabwean Energy Regulatory Authority. The Authority has also noted an increase in both private off-grid solar installations as well as large industrial solar installations by companies such as Econet’s DPA. This surge has been mainly driven by two factors. One ZESA is now relatively expensive with the average kWh now going for about US$0.10. Then there is also the fact that ZESA has been very unreliable with erratic load-shedding that seem to target high density surbubs more.

LP gas consumption has improved significantly in the last five years reaching 50 million kg, which pushed us to start regulating the sector.

…We have licensed more than 90 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and the retail sector, like many other companies are doing, should take lead in setting up solar mini-grids for its own use.

Norbert Mataruse ZERA Consumer Services Manager

The ZESA grid is the only thing saving them from oblivion

ZESA has been facing increasing competition from solar installers and power companies like DPA over recent years. The only thing standing between them and oblivion thus far has been the extensive ZESA grid owned and operated by their subsidiary ZETDC. Otherwise more and more people would be jumping ship in much the same way people switched to Econet and other mobile network operators from the now-defunct PTC company that operated landlines.

Other entities in the ZESA family particularly ZPC which is in charge of power generation have been a letdown. For the past two decades, they have been unable to meet the peak demand of around 2 000MW despite numerous attempts to do so. The latest effort was through a solar power plant but Zimbabwe’s power elite captured and derailed the project which has all but been abandoned. The solution nowadays has been to import power from South Africa and Mozambique. South Africa has been unable to export due to generation issues of their own as well as peak winter demand.