Private purchase of transformers illegal: Govt

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Staff Reporter

Harare: Government has prohibited the procurement of transformers by electricity consumers, maintaining that it remains the duty of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transimission and Distribution Company (ZETDC).

This comes as individuals have been subsidising ZETDC in the purchasing of transformers amid financial challenges being experienced by Zesa Enterprises (Zent) – the country’s biggest manufacturer of transformers. This also came after senators had queried government policy when it came to the transformers which are malfunctioning and are not being replaced.

Firstly, transformers are mounted by ZESA and they are installed by ZETDC.  Zent enterprise is a company that makes the transformers which they give to ZETDC free of charge.  If a transformer is malfunctioning, there is no law which says that the community should look into that, it is the responsibility of ZETDC to replace the transformer for free,” Mudyiwa said, adding: “Zent imports 90 percent of its raw material, and with this critical shortage of foreign currency it is currently operating at 25 percent capacity.”

The transformer manufacturer has a backlog of over 1 400 and requires about $400 000 in United States dollars per month to produce at full capacity.

“If people were contributing in that area it was not a Government policy, because electricity is a right to everyone – so if there is a malfunctioning, it is the responsibility of ZESA to replace.  However, because of financial restraints, probably they might fail to replace the transformers.”

Individuals and private companies have been making contributions to ZESA for a new transformer, each time a transformer has broken down, vandalized or stolen.

Responding to questions from Senators in Senate on Thursday Energy and Power Development deputy minister Magna Mudyiwa insisted that private purchase of transformers is illegal.

Zesa HQ