The Postal and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe Potraz, over this weekend met some disappointed and disconnected rural folks, from marginalised parts of Zimbabwe, who are enduring more hours of disconnection due to Zesa load shedding.
Addressing thousands of dejected Consumers at Mahusekwa during the consumer education and awareness campaign today the 3rd of August, the Head Consumer Affairs and publicity, George Manyaya said there were concerned about the Disconnection and driving new solutions to aliaviate the problem.
We are lobbying ZESA that the ICT sector be prioritised when it comes to power. To the extent possible, ZESA should prioritise the transmission and core network so that data centres, hub sites, and hub centres among others should not be subjected to load shedding. Even in terms of accessing fuel, the network operators need to be prioritised. This will enable consumers to transact and communicate both locally and globally” he said to the applause of the thousands of consumers who had complained.
The current situation dictates those without generators will only be able to provide service for the few hours the electricity is available. Most of the sites have generators but by design, they are meant to run periods, which are less than the 18 hours.
When we have load shedding operators have to resort to generators assuming the site has a generator and the generator has the fuel.
As result generators are running over their timespan and faults are increasing, hence it becomes a double-edged sword. Therefore, operators need power for providing services and there is need for power on the part of users.
For example, here in Mahusekwa let us say the base station has fuel, you the consumers who are supposed to use the service are not fully utilising it as your gadgets might not have power and are off so it affects the ability of service providers to break even. As the regulator, we need to ensure that we balance affordability and sustainability.
ICT is the spine of the economy it is intertwined with health , education , agriculture to tourism hence viability and sustainability of the sector is paramount for us continue being open for business
There is nothing you can do without communication imagine 5 minutes without mobile financial services no ecocash , onemoney or telecash? Every transaction lost means revenue lost for the government .
The nationwide challenge of commercial electricity has affected the sector as all base stations run on electricity as their primary source of power.
As a way foward: ‘’we understand the challenges that the government is facing especially the hydropower system challenges as evidence by the low water levels In Kariba. We really appreciate the efforts being made by the government in alleviating the challenges.
The removal of duty on solar equipment and gadgets is a welcome move as operators can utilize these at the basa stations . Government also has long-term projects like the solar farms and Batoka hydro power plant among others.
Potraz thanked the community for the feedback especially on the power crisis and quality of service .
“We have heard your challenges and witnessed that the quality of experience is affected as the network is affected .As POTRAZ we are lobbying Zesa to consider prioritizing the ICT sector .
“We want to thank you for attending in your numbers the focus is to raise awareness on consumer rights and responsibilities in the use of postal and telecommunication services under the theme: “Postal and Telecommunications Consumers – Know Your Rights.”
POTRAZ has been conducting consumer roadshows around the country and consumers have responded well in attending
Besides consumer, rights and obligations the consumers will be educated on emerging issues associated with bundles and out of bundle charges offered by service providers under the Right to Disclosure, which emphasizes that service providers should disclose up to date information about their products and services offered: prices, discounts offered, terms, and conditions.
The Mashonaland east roadshows were held during the course of the week and areas covered included Mutawatawa, Nhakiwa, Katiyo, Makaha, Cornerstore, Macheke, Sadza, Nharira and Chivhu town. The mega roadshow was held in Mahusekwa.