By Whinsley Masara
A NUMBER of suburbs in Bulawayo have been plunged into darkness due to the increased vandalism and theft of copper cables, officials have confirmed.
In the past two weeks, some suburbs in the eastern and western areas have been going without electricity for up to 72 hours.
Zesa spokesperson Mr Fullard Gwasira said the reason why this is happening was continuous vandalism and theft of copper cables, a problem that is affecting the whole country.
“We lost seven kilometres of cables and we lose about three transformers every night across the country. The incidents have become too prevalent throughout the country but we are working hard to fix the problems. Actually, not only Bulawayo is being affected but most parts of the country.
“Instead of improving on our services and growing as an industry, we are busy looking back to replace the cables that have been stolen and replace transformers which have been drained of oil, transformers whose components have been stolen,” he said.
Mr Gwasira said the replacement of transformers was very costly as they were imported.
Speaking at the Harare Agricultural Show on Tuesday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Mr Partson Mbiriri, said vandalism and theft of Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) property was hampering the power company’s plans to extend the electricity grid as it was focusing on repairing the damaged equipment.
“Instead of extending the grid and addressing the 58 percent who are connected, we are busy looking back to replace the cables that have been stolen and replace transformers.
“ZETDC is in the process of replacing transformers but then these transformers are imported making the exercise very costly,” he said, adding that the money being used by ZETDC in replacing stolen cables and vandalised transformers could be invested in improving the electricity distribution network. The Chronicle.