Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has started constructing a $7,5 million substation to augment power supplies to Beitbridge town.
ZETDC’s manager for Western Region Engineer Lloyd Jaji told stakeholders during a meeting in the border town on Wednesday that the substation will connect more than 5 000 properties and the industrial area.
The meeting was jointly organised by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) and the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ). He said the current 132kv substation was not enough to cater for the town’s needs due to the expansion that has taken place in the last two decades.
“We have since acquired the land in the northern part of Dulivhadzimo suburb. Our sister company Zesa Enterprises is implementing the project, which we expect to be complete by the end of next year,” said Engineer Jaji.
“Pre-commencement works have already began and we are confident that civil works will start soon. This is a huge project, which will take us more than six months to complete. At the moment we have a challenge with the substation along the Limpopo River, which cannot adequately supply the town which is growing rapidly.
“In essence, the current substation is far away from properties in the northern suburbs of the town. This long distance has resulted the depletion of supply voltage and we have been experiencing a lot of unnecessary outages”.
He said the Beitbridge West station was part of their efforts to promote urban development. Engineer Jaji said they had also made proposals for Government to make it mandatory for land developers to include electricity as part of servicing the stands.
Beitbridge has an estimated urban population of 73 000 people, one referral hospital, 14 schools (including private), two council-owned clinics and four private clinics, all relying one power supply substation.
Further, there are more than 3 000 unelectrified properties mainly in Dulivhadzimo North, where there is rapid property development.
“We have covered a lot of ground in areas around service delivery. It is pleasing to note that ZERA has approved a tender by 17 private players to acquire 130 000 prepaid meters for use in most properties countrywide,” said Eng Jaji.
“Initially, the tender had been awarded to four companies, who failed to deliver the gadgets due to a number of challenges, including foreign currency shortages.
“Under the new arrangements, the companies will use their own means to import the meters and sell them to clients. However, these (gadgets) will be subject to conformity testing by ZETDC.”