ZETDC saving 100MW monthly since installing prepaid meters
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company says it is now saving 100MW on a monthly basis since installing 550 000 prepaid meters throughout the country.
Speaking at the ZERA Farmers indaba yesterday, ZETDC commercial director, Ralph Katsande said the firm is targeting to install 800 000 prepaid meters by 2018.
“We have installed 550 000 prepaid meters to date, we are already seeing significant saving as people become conscious and aware of their consumption habits. Domestic consumption has since come down by 108MW, our target is to install 800 000 prepaid meters by 2018,” he said
Katsande said ZETDC is owed US$1,1 billion with local authorities owing US$270 million, the agriculture sector owing US$76 million while the commercial sector owes US$180 million. He said the debt is compromising power supply security as key creditors are threatening to withdraw their services.
“The debt leads to poor credit ratings which make it difficult to attract financiers to invest in power assets in a market where service bills are not being paid. The debt also impacts on operations as network maintenance cannot be sustained,” he added.
Katsande said the utility is now engaging farmers to sign-up payments plans while encouraging farmers whose produce is marketed in structured markets to sign-up to stop order schemes. He however conceded that there has been resistance of prepaid meters on the farms.
He said the country is currently producing1163MW with a deficit of 300MW. Kariba is currently producing 696MW against a capacity of 709MW due to the drought while Hwange is currently producing 349MW against an installed capacity of 610MW. Small Thermals are producing 72MW with Independent Power Producers and power imports contributing 53MW.
Secretary of Energy and Power development, Partson Mbiriri said the fiscus cannot afford to subsidise energy to farmers. He however said government is working flat out to ensure that farmers access cheap off peak power through the installation of smart meters which are expected in the first quarter of 2016. The meters will enable farmers to use energy at a time when the tariff will be low, thereby boosting production. FinX