The Rhodesia Herald,
June 13, 1968
RHODESIAN electricity consumption continues to run at record levels. The general manager of the Electricity Supply Commission, Mr J.M. Magowan, said in Salisbury yesterday that the ESC put out a record 3,4 million units in the 24 hours of June 4 in its Mashonaland and Midlands areas.
During this period, the peak load was a record 158,7 megawatts.
The previous record was set on March 20 of this year when the ESC put out more than 3 000 000 million units with a peak load of 158.2mw.
A spokesman for the Central African Power Board said that the board also had record figures on June 4.
Maximum combined demand for Rhodesia and Zambia reached 2 megawatts and units sold totalled 17m.
The figures for June 4 were obviously affected by the cold snap which hit the country that day. But industrial, commercial, and manufacturing consumption of electricity, reflecting a high level in activity in the economy, has been rising steadily over the past two years.
The last issue of my quarterly statistical summary published in May shows that the consumption of electricity in the first quarter of this year, at 6,18m units, was more than 20 percent up on the comparable figure in the first quarter of 1967.
Despite the political upheavals which have taken place in Central Africa over the past decade, the continued rise in the level of electricity consumption, in Zambia as well as in Rhodesia, has justified to the hilt the original decisions taken when Kariba was in its planning stages.
Electricity consumption has kept pace with the original estimates and the cost of generation at Kariba has steadily fallen.
As a result of this growth, fresh decisions will have to be taken before long on the source from which Rhodesia and Zambia will get their extra electricity requirements from in the early '70s.
The best solution would still be for the two countries to go ahead with the construction of the north bank power station at Kariba.
At present the south bank station supplies about 50 percent of its output to each country. If this solution is not possible, Rhodesia can still consider taking substantial supplies from Cabora-Bassa or increase its thermal output.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
The demand for electricity will continue to increase in the short, medium to long-term as the economy continues to grow and this will require revamping and expanding existing infrastructure as investment in new projects.
Government on its part has done well by initiating the expansion of the Kariba South and Hwange Thermal Power Station expansion projects, which are expected to increase power generation to fill up the country's deficit.
At the same time, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority has issued several licences for solar projects some of which are already being implemented.
The rising demand for electricity requires people to use the available power sparingly by switching of gadgets that draw or require a lot of power.
The power utility should ensure that all people connected to the national grid legally and are paying for the power that they are using to ensure sustainability.
Zera should withdraw the licences that are being held by Independent Power Producers for speculative purposes after President Mnangagwa recently put such producers on notice. The IPPs should also be given timeframes by which they should implement their projects.
ZESA should expedite the rollout of pre-paid metres to ensure that it collects as much revenue as possible for it to be able to meet its obligation.