Progress has been made to find a lasting solution to the continuous power cuts in Ashdown Park and Bloomingdale suburbs in Ward 16 following the procurement of underground cables by power utility ZESA Holdings.
Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter
A statement issued after a meeting attended by ZESA officials, former Ward 16 councillor Mr Denford Ngadziore and residents’ representatives, a Mrs Mangwende and a Mr Jira states that 500 metres of an underground cable have been acquired and will be installed soon.
“As promised two months ago, we had another follow-up meeting (on Tuesday last week) with (the) ZESA Mabelreign manager.
“For close to six years, about 425 households in Ashdown Park and 255 houses in Bloomingdale have been experiencing continuous power cuts.
“The last time we met with ZESA management in January, a road map was agreed on and shared with residents.
“We are glad to advise the affected residents that there is much progress to finding lasting solutions to power cuts in the two suburbs.
“ZESA procured the required 500 metre underground cable, which is currently at ZESA Mabelreign.
“Digging of the trenches will start soon after completion of the new designs,” read the statement.
Residents were informed that the City of Harare, the Surveyor General’s Office and the ZESA drawing office were working on the new designs.
“The new design line has been diverted because of the housing developments at 100 Percent Co-operative situated off Harare Drive and Lorraine Drive. The 100 Percent Co-operative members have been charged a penalty fee by ZESA for the housing development that caused the re-route of the ZESA underground line,” read the statement.
In March, resident representatives from the two suburbs met ZESA Mabelreign officials in a bid to map a way forward as residents were receiving less than five hours of electricity since 2016 each time power was restored following an outage.
The problem had worsened as residents were now going for two or more days without electricity whenever there was a power cut.
In March, Mr Ndabe Sibalo from ZESA Mabelreign said the power problems in Ashdown Park and Bloomingdale were as a result of the removal of the power grid because of the newly built 100 Percent Cooperative houses near Harare Drive which disrupted some underground cables.
Mr Sibalo said the constant power cuts were being caused by network overload from Maranatha industries and more houses built in Madokero and Maranatha.
He said Ashdown Park has overhead cables which are easily affected by rain and trees among other things.
Initially, the March meeting had resolved that the affected suburbs and areas were to be removed from the Maranatha and Madokero power network and put on the National Sports Stadium network.
But it emerged that the National Sports Stadium network was already overloaded forcing the power utility to fix the problem with a 500 metre underground cable to enable ZESA to install a direct line to Ashdown Park.
The March meeting also resolved to carry out awareness campaigns so that all companies and service providers who intend to dig trenches are encouraged to seek approval from ZESA and the City of Harare before digging up trenches.
This was after it was discovered that the digging of trenches left electricity cables damaged.
It was also suggested that the fine for those found digging trenches without approval and not cutting trees be reviewed upwards as a deterrence to offenders.
It also emerged after the meeting that all ZESA consumers in the two suburbs on the post-paid system which uses conventional electricity meters will have them replaced with prepaid electricity meters.
Residents of Haig Park were also said to be experiencing constant power cuts until the MV electrical boards which were responsible for the faults were replaced.