Zimbabwe: Electricity-Related Accidents Kill 224

26 February 2018

At least 224 people were killed in electricity related accidents countrywide between 2009 and 2016, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority said on Wednesday.

ZERA's engineer in charge of renewable energy Tobias Mudzingwa said that they were concerned with the continued loss of life due to electricity-related accidents.

The deaths were mainly caused by infrastructure collapse, unsafe practices by members of the public, unsafe operations by employees and theft and vandalism on electricity infrastructure.

Engineer Mudzingwa was speaking during a domestic consumer education and awareness programme in Beitbridge that was jointly organised by ZERA and the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) last week.

"Between 2009 and 2016, the electricity sector recorded a total of 472 accidents. Of these, 364 (77 percent) involved members of the public and 106 (23 percent) involved ZETDC employees," said Engineer Mudzingwa.

"A total of 224 members of the public and 15 ZETDC workers were killed during the period under review.

"The causes vary from infrastructure collapse (42 percent), unsafe practices by members of the public (38 percent), unsafe operations by employees (13 percent) and theft and vandalism on electricity infrastructure (7 percent)".

He urged members of the public to always abide by the electricity safety use regulations to avoid unnecessary loss of life.

Engineer Mudzingwa said there was rampant use of unorthodox electricity networks, where in some instances people were using barbed wire to transmit electricity.

He advised people to migrate from the use of electricity to other forms of renewable energy like solar, bio-gas and liquid petroleum gas.

"The use of solar water geysers in homes for water heating - saves energy consumption by at least 40 percent. It is well-known that the majority of people in Zimbabwe (61 percent) still use wood fuel as their primary source of energy. Wood can still be used efficiently through improved wood stoves as opposed to the three-stone open fire method, " he said.

Engineer Mudzingwa also said the use of renewable energy in homes reduces the impact of global warming and climate change. He said it was sustainable and cheaper in the long run to use renewable sources of energy compared to fuels such as diesel.

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