Will the last person please turn off the lights

22 10 2007

A large part of the northern suburbs has been without power for the past six days or so. My friend Trevor tells me he’s become a fair grave digger; mainly for the chickens and other meat that went rotten in his deep freeze. Apparently the power came back on this morning though it was way too late for most. I am more lucky – we seldom get power cuts here and the only likely reason is that we are on the same power grid as an engineers’ barracks down the road (must keep the army happy). I don’t make a fuss about it, it seems that people don’t appreciate the more fortunate. What? You are not suffering like the rest of us?

Yesterday I caught a lift with Andre out to Chinhoyi to check out a small airstrip that we could perhaps use to winch up our paragliders. It was not great weather but the trip was a success and I got a reasonable flight to a nearby polo ground and we decided it was definitely worth another trip when the weather was less ominous. On the way out we chatted about the things that Zimbabweans chat about; power shortages, water shortages, milk shortages, where to find bread etc. Andre mentioned that a tree in his next door neighbour’s plot had fallen on the power line and ZESA had actually come out quite quickly to sort it out. He got chatting to the senior technician and was rewarded with some interesting but depressing statistics.

  • There is all of 450MW of power available for THE ENTIRE COUNTRY! The mines get first call so no surprise that there is so little power left for the rest of us.
  • Namibia did a deal with Zimbabwe and put some money into the power system. It means that we must supply them next year with 150MW. Given that Wankie is unlikely to come on line with anything significant, the power outages are only going to get worse.
  • The fault that caused the outage in the northern suburbs could not be found because the tracing equipment was too old. They had to get help from Bulawayo.

So here is my prediction. This economy will eventually collapse, not due to the kindergarten economic policies of the relevant financial institutions but due to the lack of power.

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2 responses

23 10 2007
tuppit

I take it your knee must be a lot better if you are back flying again, or is it just a risk you are prepared to take?

23 10 2007
js

Seems it should not be necessary to ask anyone to turn off lights..
đŸ™‚ Hope you enjoyed the flight !

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