Zesa reaches out to Rwanda to clear connections backlog Zesa says its database as at mid-last year had 305 000 households that need new electricity connection

Oliver Kazunga Senior Business Reporter

STATE power utility, Zesa Holdings, has engaged Rwanda Energy Group for assistance in raising funding the company requires to clear a backlog of 305 000 houses requiring new electricity connections in the country.

Zesa, through its subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), has in recent years been battling to clear the electricity connection backlog due to funding challenges.

ZETDC acting managing director Engineer Howard Choga, in an interview last week, said his organisation was riding on the cordia bilateral relations between the two countries to enter into a partnership arrangement with Rwanda Energy Group to mobilise funding needed to clear the electricity connections backlog.

“For the past 15 years, as Zesa, we have had a sub-economic tariff structure and this is one of the reasons that was negatively impacting on our operational efficiency including attending to faults and undertaking household electricity connections.

“From our database as at mid-last year, 305 000 households need electricity connection and thus we have engaged Rwanda Energy Group to clear the backlog.

“We started engaging Rwanda Energy Group in June last year and using the information in our database we then engaged them based on the information from our database,” he said, adding that the Government has given ZETDC the greenlight to partner Rwanda Energy Group.

He said now date has been established yet as to when the electricity connection programme will be implemented.

“You will be aware that when we ask such amounts of money, we need to be cleared by the Ministry of Finance for a borrowing certificate.

“And we have already been issued with a term sheet … now we are going through the process to get the borrowing powers from the Government and once that happens we will finalise the contract with Rwanda Energy Group,” said Eng Choga.

The scope of work for the project involves electricity connections on households where Rwanda will provide some engineers as well as financing of the project while ZETDC procures the equipment as well as recruiting most of the personnel.

“Taking into cognizance of the housing development project being taken across the country, we estimate that the backlog by now could have ballooned to between 340 000 and 350 000.

Under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1), Eng Choga said the Government was targeting to construct 250 000 households.

NDS 1 is a five-year economic blueprint running between 2018 and 2025 and the programme builds onto the attainment of Vision 2030, which targets an upper middle-income economy status.

“You might also be aware that the Government under NDS 1 is also targeting to have 250 000 houses constructed and if this figure is to add to what we already have, then we will have to adjust our contract with Rwanda Energy Group because in our agreement there is a provision for that,” he said

Meanwhile, the power utility, which has been losing US$9 million annually through vandalism and theft of its infrastructure has adopted the drone technology to curb the acts of sabotage on its equipment and infrastructure

Through drone technology, Zesa can now do technical loss identification, disaster management, environmental impact assessments in the delivery of power projects, asset monitoring and management, situational awareness and short range surveillance, among others.

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