Byo residents demand load shedding schedule

Bulawayo residents have called on Zimbabwe Electricity and Distribution Company (ZETDC) to provide them with a load-shedding schedule so that they are able to prepare adequately.

Currently, electricity cuts are random a situation which puts residents’ appliances in danger.

Business operations are also disturbed as electricity may be cut at any time of the day.

This came out during a stakeholders meeting hosted by the power company at the small city hall, Thursday.

Speaking at the meeting, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA), Ambrose Sibindi, said it is important for residents to have load shedding schedules as well timelines for power connectivity.

“Can we please have timetables that will guide residents about the blackouts. Can you not shed at night because that is when most of the vandalism happens. Copper cable thieves take advantage of this and pounce when power is disconnected,” Sibindi said.

“May you please provide connectivity timelines for the new residential stands. We have residents who are still waiting for power connectivity for example in Pumula and Cowdray Park. If you’re facing challenges let us know rather than to be just quiet.”

He added that prolonged power cuts have a negative bearing on the environment, such as deforestation which perpetuates climate change.

“There is also the issue of increased cases of crime. People have been mugged, women have been raped and there are break-ins because it would be too dark outside,” Sibindi said.

“We also have residents who are paid per hour. These power cuts affect their output thus having a direct bearing on their remuneration.”

ZESA Commercial Services Manager, Engineer Gift Ndlovu explained that on some of the occasions when there are blackouts it is due to faults hence it is difficult to come up with a timetable.

“We do understand the concern but the main challenge that we have is that sometimes when we have these prolonged load-shedding hours it will be due to faults. We cannot, therefore, have the foresight of faults that may develop. Some of our infrastructure is now old hence the many faults that we incur but it is work in progress. We do try to respond as swiftly as we can and we also hope that this will be rectified soon,” he said.

Bulawayo Residents Association (BURA) chairperson, Winos Dube, noted that residents have set up neighbourhood watch committees to fight vandalism.

“We have set up neighbourhood watch committees to curb theft if copper cables. However, we need the support of the security services, the police or the army to complement our efforts. The people who commit these offences are very dangerous. There is only so much that we as residents can be able to do to fight off these people with our knobkerries,” 

“We have residents in our communities who live on medication. Some if this medication needs to be refrigerated. So when we don’t have electricity for long that medication is affected, residents will be forced to get some more yet they are struggling with finances.”

Stakeholders from the hotel and tourism sector who were in attendance implored the power company to have rates that are favourable for those who pay in local currency.

“I work in a hotel. Most of our clients pay in local currency so when you say your charges are being pegged in USD it becomes difficult for us to keep up. Our services don’t rack in foreign currency, may you please consider us when you come up with your charges,” he said.

An elderly resident from Entumbane suburb, Aleck Hadebe, reiterated that there are no fixed timetables for load shedding and this affects them.

“I stay in Entumbane and there is no fixed timetable for electricity cuts. Sometimes we go for about two-three days without power. We are now old and we take lots of medication which is stored in refrigerators so the longer we don’t have power the more complicated things get for us,” he said.

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