Zimbabwe to spend $20 million replacing stolen transformers

Sep 5, 2018
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Posted by Patrick Haddad

Zimbabwean national power utility ZESA Holdings has said it needs $20 million to replace over 4000 stolen and vandalised transformers.

According to the government, thieves are stealing at least three transformers per night, making it very difficult for ZESA to replace them at an equal rate. The situation is exacerbated by the foreign currency issues the country is currently facing.

Not only is there a massive foreign currency shortage, with competition amongst companies for allocations, but there is also competition to process foreign payments. All these factors combined help make it harder for ZESA to replace the stolen and vandalised transformers as soon as they are discovered.

As well as transformers, thieves are also stealing copper wire, despite the 10 year sentence they face if caught.

“Vandalism at farms and far away from farms is affecting the distribution of electricity. ZETDC (Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company) has lost cables that are 7km long (and) three transformers are stolen per night. Instead of increasing power generation, we are going backwards to look for transformers.” said Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development Mr Partson Mbiriri.

ZESA spokesperson Mr Fullard Gwasira said last week that the transformer situation was dire as 4 000 of them need replacing.

“At the moment, over 4 000 transformers need replacing but the frequency of vandalism and/ or thefts is such that we can’t replace them at the same rate.

“Replacement of transformers is an ongoing process and our job is to provide electricity, but remember, we have foreign currency constraints in the country and we are challenged given that the cheapest transformer costs about $5 000,” said Mr Gwasira.

 

Source: The Herald

Photo (for illustrative purposes): Transmission system repairs underway/ Western Area Power/ Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

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