Dr Joram Gumbo

GOVERNMENT is set to procure 2 000 electricity transformers to address power transmission gaps, which are negatively affecting service in critical sectors, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Dr Jorum Gumbo, said.

He told Business Chronicle that Treasury had released funding for the project but would not be drawn to disclose the exact figures.

The Minister said Government was aware of the shortage of transformers to connect critical sectors such as clinics and schools.

“Our problem has been foreign currency but at the moment the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has given us money to secure about 2 000 transformers. A tender has been floated and we hope we will be receiving them in due course,” he said.

“There is a shortage throughout the country in farms, in schools and in some very strategic places like clinics. So there is no specific place but there is really a need throughout the country.”

Last year Government revealed that it needed close to $20 million to replace 4 000 transformers that were lost due to vandalism. Dr Gumbo said the country was not manufacturing enough transformers to meet local demand.

“I’ve been on record telling you that we don’t manufacture transformers. We buy transformers. We allow people to bring them from outside and buy from them. We are not manufacturing enough, at most if we can, we can manufacture 400 transformers a month, which is not enough,” he said.

Dr Gumbo said although load shedding was at its minimal, power supplies were being interrupted due to faults caused by strong winds and violent thunderstorms, which result in electric poles falling. The Minister said Government was considering replacing wooden poles with durable concrete poles.

“The other way of doing it, instead of having wooden poles, we are considering using the concrete poles.

They are stronger and have a longer life. As time goes on we have to think of other means to make sure that we secure our transmissions. The other way to do it when the funds do allow is to go underground,” said Dr Gumbo.Herald