The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority Holdings is the country's biggest power producer and regulating company. It operates under the Ministry and Energy and Power Development and it runs a number of subsidiary company with various specialties in power regulation and communications.
ZESA was formed following the passing of two Acts by the Parliament of Zimbabwe, the Electricity Act (Chapter 13:19) and the Rural Electrification Fund Act (Chapter 13:20). The Electricity Act also ushered in the formation of five successor companies, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Company (ZETCO), Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZEDC), ZESA Enterprises and PowerTel Communications. In line with the approved structure, all power generation assets and operations are under ZESA Holdings generation subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) formed in October 1996. Distribution assets and supply functions fall under the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZEDC), ZESA Enterprises, another subsidiary of ZESA Holdings comprises of four business units namely ZESA Technology Centre, Production and Services, Transport Logistics and Projects. It is a flexible investment arm for ZESA Holdings that has a diversified business portfolio.
Transmission grid assets and operations fall under the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Company (ZETCO), a separate Rural Electrification Fund, a Board and Agency have been set up under the Rural Electrification Fund Act, passed in January 2002. The Agency is administering a special fund formed under this Act to finance rural electrification projects. The Board is accountable to the Minister of Energy and Power Development.
Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC)
Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) one of the subsidiaries of ZESA Holdings was formed in 1996 as an investment vehicle in the generation of electricity and became operational in 1999. The organisation has been authorised to construct, own, operate and maintain power generation stations for the supply of electricity. ZPC currently operates four coal fired power stations, Hwange, Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare thermal stations, and one hydro power station, Kariba South Power Station.
Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company
ZETDC is responsible for the transmission of electricity from the power stations, the distribution of electricity as well as its retailing to end users. There is also distribution asset management, which includes network planning, development, operation and maintenance. Marketing, which involves widening the scope and depth of the customer base, pricing and a provision of a safe and reliable service to the customers.
Zesa Enterprises (ZENT)
ZENT works strategically as an organ responsible for investment for ZESA Holdings. It has a diversified business portfolio. It spearheads the drive into new dimensions such as land development, irrigation works and installations, manufacturing electricity end use equipment, development of new IT products and regional markets. It comprises four business units.
PowerTel Communication is a registered Internet services provider in the country. It has a a considerable coverage in Zimbabwe through its fibre cable system. Its offices are located at the famous Joina City building in Harare. PowerTel also has a Broadband Wireless network covering major parts of the country.
Pre-Paid Metre Installation
ZESA embarked on a pre-paid metre installation project with the aim of reducing the national consumption levels. The idea was also meant to recover millions of dollars of unpaid bills by individuals, private companies as well as government departments. The replacement of the conventional billing system was also in line with the improvements in the Information and Communication systems. In March 2011 Powertel extended the backbone to Mutare into Mozambique to create a second gateway to the undersea cable Seacom. This provides an essential backup in terms of internet connectivity to ensure that the customer is never down. .
ZESA has accumulated a number of nick names due to its expert load shedding style. In Zimbabwe during winters, some residential areas especially in Harare go for dozens of hours without electricity. Winter wheat farmers are usually the most affected in terms of production since the crop requires electricity for irrigation. Some areas have also faced perennial blackouts by going for months without electricity. These inconsistencies have given Zesa Holdings an outlook of a weak and incompetent organisation in the eyes if the Zimbabwean public. In 2014, there was speculation that ZESA was in fact exporting electricity to countries such as Mozambique while the country was in "darkness".
ZESA Holdings has generally been under-performing especially in terms of providing the much needed services such as electricity. There is also growing concern over the electricity rates being charged by the consumers which are high as compared to the regional rates. In contrast, the company has failed to combat financial challenges especially with regards to payment of its workers. In 2014, the company was marred with battles with its formers employees for failing to honour some of its financial obligations.
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