Moving to end chronic electric power shortages, the Zimbabwean government has given operating licenses five independent producers, one of which could start generating and distributing power by the end of this year, a minister said Friday.
Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma said the five companies are now mobilizing their resources after being issued licenses allowing them to compete with the state-controlled Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority or Zesa.
Mangoma said one of the largest of these firms, Tsengwa Power Station, owned by RioZim (Pvt) Limited, is projecting a generation capacity of 2,400 megawatts, twice the current 1,200-megawatt capacity of the financially distressed parastatal.
Other new entrants into the Zimbabwean power sector are Lusulu Power, a subsidiary of Pan-African Energy, and the Gayirezi Pungwe and Mutirikwi hydroeleric power stations believed to be owned by local firms and foreign entrepreneurs.
Mangoma said Zimbabwe’s present and future electricity requirements demand that the country admit independent power producers.
“We expect our power demands to gradually rise within the next few years to more than 10,000 megawatts [so] there is need for investment in the power sector,” he said.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association spokesman Roderick Fayayo said the new players should be warned not to exploit Zimbabweans to reap outsized profits.