So it came out in the Minister’s presentation to Parliament this week that the power situation was grave and drastic measures needed to be taken in order to save the country from total darkness.
There are a number of implementations that will take place not only over the next few days, but months as well so as to cushion us from such a fiasco from happening again.
1. Cut off mines and industry by 25%
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The Minister figures that mines and industry are “gobbling” up to 100MW of power and a 25% reduction from them will aide us all in the residential areas. But wait, this will affect mining production and overall GDP growth and exports, also having a bearing on the workforce at the mines and possibly see layoffs (mines were already shedding staff, down to 38,000 last year). Can we afford to sacrifice industry/production so that people can watch TV at home?
2. Cut off CBD for 30 mins
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A 30 minute black-out in CBD will save “a lot of power” he reckons. Yes it may, but central business districts, like industrial areas, are commercial areas where activity that drives the economy takes place. Such a move would force businesses to reduce productivity or use generators, a process that is not efficient. This will sadly lead to the cost burden being pasted onto the customers/end-users.
3. Shut off Sable Chemicals
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Undoubtedly we see no reason why these guys were not cut off sooner. They have been failing to meet the national demand requirement for fertiliser and even so, farmers have been complaining of a host of reasons as to why they have failed to perform. However, to try and arm twist Government, they’ve announced that if power gets cut off to them, they’ll lay off 500 works and shut down. They were shut down before, only that time for a $30m debt, but it seems they never got their act together. To add insult to injury Sable Chemicals are using an outdated method of extracting hydrogen from water for making the ammonia nitrate, that requires a lot of electricity and have failed to move to more modern methods that use coal.
4. Cut off ZNA/ZRP
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Our uniformed forces have been spared from the confusion that ZESA have blessed us with. Not anymore says the Minister. The army and police have been advised that darkness is coming their way in order to “share the burden”. Would be interesting to see the reaction from both camps, as things did not go down too well last time around.
5. Quick Win Projects
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The Minister goes on to mention a host of solutions that are being undertaken; solar geysers banned, refurbishment to power stations that will take no sooner than 24 months to be up and running, as well as mention of solar plants, like the one that Sir Wicknell has been building for some time now.