Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZEDTC) yesterday said the installation of prepaid meters is 98 percent complete, but the country’s energy regulator expressed alarm at the high work-related fatalities in the industry.
“We have installed 524 000 out of the 532 000 meters (by last December) and we expect to complete the project within the first quarter,” acting managing director Howard Choga said on the sidelines of the company’s launch of the HIV/AIDS and Safety, Health and Environmental policies.
“It is also in the public domain that we are also going for smart meters and that is one of the biggest projects that we are pursuing.”
Smart meters are an effort to reduce the tampering of prepaid meters which he said was prejudicing the power utility of revenue.
Zimbabwe is in the grips of perennial electricity shortages due to the diminished generating capacity of its ageing plants and lack of investment in new infrastructure. The country currently generates half of its 2 200 megawatt peak demand.
The introduction of prepaid electricity platforms is an important demand-side management measure meant to guarantee revenue streams as users pay for power in advance, while also managing their consumption better.
Also speaking at the launch, Zimbabwe Energy Regulator Authority chief executive officer Gloria Magombo said the energy regulator is drafting new regulations which seek to reduce injuries and fatalities related to the use of electricity.
She said while a number of accidents had been recorded over the last five years, most of them were preventable.
“Between 2009 and 2014, the electricity sector recorded over 300 accidents of which 142 were fatal and this fatality rate actually translates to two deaths per month which is quite high,” said Magombo in a speech read on her behalf by ZERA official Sam Zaranyika.
“ZERA is drafting the electricity public safety regulations which are at an advanced stage of consultations and we are looking at having them in force soon.”
Magombo said on the contrary, developed countries like Australia recorded 25 deaths during the same period, blaming Zimbabwe’s dilapidated infrastructure and poor workmanship for the accidents.-The Source