So ZESA is keen for you to know that some blackouts that you are experiencing are not due to load-shedding but a result of strong winds blowing across the country. While we are at it we might as well add another disheartening cause of blackouts at the moment-transformer faults. A lot of residents of various suburbs have complained about spending weeks and often more than a week without power due to transformer faults which now seem to be more frequent.
Why we are seeing so many transformer faults?
There are a number of reasons why there is anecdotal evidence that seems to suggest that we are now seeing more transformer faults than before:
- Increased load-shedding puts a strain on transformers. The truth is most transformers were never made to be switched on and off as many times as is being done right now. Zimbabwe has struggled with a power deficit for decades and the go-to solution has been to ration power through load-shedding. That has not been great for the lifespan and health of the transformers.
- Transformer overloading-as already said electricity demand in Zimbabwe is very high compared to what ZESA can provide. Sometimes a transformer installed a long time ago is not replaced with a high-capacity transformer when more users are added to it. This will result in the transformer sometimes bursting into flames. In remote areas, power theft and illegal connections are resulting in transformers coming under a lot of strain and bursting into flames.
- Vandalism and theft are also causing some transformers faults more often than before. There have been cases where thieves drain transformers of their oil resulting in them overheating. Some vandals steal important safety equipment and replace it with wires and less safe equipment resulting in even more transformer faults.
Why ZESA is taking so long to replace transformer
This is not a secret really. ZESA is struggling with issues like foreign currency shortages, high level corruption, incompetence among other issues. All these issues have conspired to create a situation where it takes months for transformers to be replaced. If your area has no known bigwig or political player you can expect to wait at least a month to get a new transformer installed. Sometimes the entire neighbourhood has to pay a bribe too.