Bikita villagers are living in fear as crime rates have risen in the area due to incessant power cuts and have called for the installation alternative power sources, preferably solar energy to light up the area.
Speaking at the launch of a solar power project by a private power company, Zonful Energy in Bikita on Friday, villagers said they are having sleepless nights as criminals continue to take advantage of dark nights to pounce on them.
“We need power in this area. We are having sleepless nights because thieves are pouncing on us every day, they are taking advantage of the power cuts and they steal from us,” said one of the headmen who attended the function.
A police official from Bikita police station said they have received several reports of break-ins as power cuts continue to take a toll on the country.
“We are receiving reports of burglary and even assaults at nights. This was not the case before power cuts and load shedding increased.
“So we are now appealing to any organisation that can assist with alternative power sources to come to our rescue,” he said.
The villagers are, therefore, expected to benefit from a $4 million facility aimed at eliminating the use of non-renewable energy sources courtesy of Zonful Energy.
The project is targeting more than 300 000housholds, mainly rural area and are off the electricity distribution grid.
According to Zonful Energy, Zimbabwe has 8,25 million people living off-grid and depend on paraffin and firewood for energy.
Those connected to the national power grid typically suffer erratic supplies.
The project is modelled around the prepaid system and is set to complement the rural electrification programme and bridge the energy gap between rural and urban communities.
Zonful Energy Chief Executive Officer, William Ponela, said they are targeting the needy group which is the rural population.
“Most of our clients are those that are in the rural areas because that is where the need for solar energy is. We are also focusing on peri-urban areas and we are targeting to complete the project in 2023,” said Ponelo.
According to FAO, almost two billion people in developing countries, one-third of the world’s population, have no access to electricity.
Fuelwood, agricultural residues, human power and draught animals continue to be the primary energy resources for millions of rural families.
With a supportive financial and institutional environment, solar energy systems could significantly improve health care and education; water supply for consumption, irrigation and livestock; food preparation and refrigeration; veterinary services; communication; and tourism.
It also holds promise for productive off-farm activities (restaurants, cinemas, technical and artisanal workshops, etc.) by powering tools, kitchen equipment, phones and other appliances.