BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
Zesa in June started implementing a punishing 18-hour load-shedding schedule after it was forced to significantly reduce power generation at the Kariba Dam hydro power plant.
Zimbabwe is also struggling to pay money owed to Mozambican and South African power producers that have responded by suspending electricity supplies.
Simbisa said it now had to spend more on diesel to run generators across the company’s 209 outlets. The power crisis came at a time when the company had lost
35% of its revenue last month after the government ended dollarisation.
Simbisa said the setback had severely affected its plans to roll out 21 outlets by year end.
“It has been an extremely difficult task,” the company’s MD Warren Meares said in an interview.
“We have got backup generators throughout the country at all our outlets and we have even now bought mobile generators for the down time when you have to
service the generators.
“We have put three generators on trailers so that when we get a problem with a certain generator we have a backup generator within the hour to support the branch that has a power cut.”
Meares was speaking after the launch of a Nandos outlet in Harare’s Borrowdale suburb on Friday. He said Simbisa would be forced to slow down its expansion
drive due to the erratic power supplies.
“Our expenses have gone up by about $780 000 per month from all outlets,” he added.
“We spent about $780 00 on diesel last month to run the generators’ and we have decided we need to have a relook at our strategy to see whether we are going
to continue on the trajectory that we had planned.”
Meares said from the 21 outlets they had originally planned for this year, only six might eventually be opened.
He said if that happens, they would only be able to hire half of the planned 500 new employees.
In February, Simbisa announced it would invest about US$10 million in setting up the 21 new outlets.