Loadshedding hits Zambia and Zimbabwe’s telecoms industry
Consumer rights organisations in Zambia and Zimbabwe are mounting pressure on authorities to minimise power outages, which they say are disrupting telecommunications services in some areas.
Zimbabwe and Zambia are experiencing electricity shortages, resulting in imposed power blackouts. Low water levels, which is used for electricity generation, and planned maintenance have caused the electricity shortfall.
As a result, the two countries have introduced loadshedding lasting several hours, affecting businesses, including the telecommunications sector.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe and Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International Lusaka (Zambia) have expressed concern that power outages are having an impact on network operators, and as a consequence on their users.
CUTS country director Angela Mulenga says energy is a key sector behind economic development.
Mulenga says, “Loadshedding is affecting operators, resulting in loss of business. We implore the government to put in place a policy framework that will encourage private sector participation, promote competition and diversification in the energy sector to aid the attainment of the 2030 agenda of universal access to electricity.”
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has admitted that the country’s prolonged power cuts are causing network problems in many areas of the country.
POTRAZ head of industry and consumer affairs Vengesai Magadzire says the long periods of power outages have resulted in poor network connectivity in areas where base stations mainly rely on national grid electricity.
Magadzire was quoted by the local NewsDay newspaper as saying, “As POTRAZ, we are very much aware of the challenges that the country is facing inasmuch as we want to ensure that there is quality service provision. However, we are experiencing structural challenges such as the power crisis that the country is experiencing.
“It becomes very difficult for network service providers to run on generators around the clock even for a week. Power is a serious challenge, which has affected the quality of telecommunications services.”