The Rural Electrification Fund (REF) is a statutory body governed by the Rural Electrification Fund Act (Chapter 13:20). Its background is that Post-independence Zimbabwean Government gave high priority to rural infrastructure development programmes, which included the rural electrification programme. The policy framework was a deliberate intention to correct the imbalances between urban and rural electrification with the ultimate goal of socially and financially empowering the rural communities and enhancing their capabilities in their contribution towards economic development of the country.
The Rural Electrification Programme (REP) commenced in earnest in 1983 when the then Electricity Supply Commission (ESC) earmarked forty-eight (48) growth points for electrification among them Mubaira, Mutoko, Murambinda and Gutu. The pace of project implementation was slow and characterized by underfunding and inequitable project distribution. In essence, the resultant poor return on infrastructure investment emanating from the high electrification costs and low load regimes associated with the rural communities, discouraged ESC management from undertaking those projects
However, in February 1989 the idea of a countrywide rural electrification programme was mooted. This idea culminated in the 1995 African Development Bank funded Rural Electrification Master Plan Study that recommended:
- The extension of the grid network to 415 rural service centres, business centres and growth points that would act as grid network hubs.
- Dedicated funding arrangement through an electrification levy; and
- Promotion of productive use of electricity by the projects selected for rural electrification.
In 1997 ZESA’s Consumer Services Department established the Rural Electrification Unit to dedicate its efforts towards the rural electrification activities. In March 2001, the ZESA Board passed a resolution to embark on the Expanded Rural Electrification Programme (EREP). The resolution gave an unprecedented impetus to finalizing the electricity industry reform draft white paper, which culminated in the enactment of the Rural Electrification Fund Act and the Electricity Act respectively at the beginning of 2002.
The legal framework created an enabling environment that promoted and sustained the Rural Electrification Programme in that the Rural Electrification Fund builds the grid network infrastructure and the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) collects the levy, operates and maintains the developed infrastructure.
Hotseck Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd
(A Subsidiary of the Rural Electrification Fund)
Hotspeck Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd is a Private Company incorporated under the Companies Act Chapter 24.03 and is wholly owned by the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) of Zimbabwe. It was established in September 2012 to supply electricity transmission poles to Rural Electrification Fund.
Hotspeck has two Strategic Business Units (SBUs) namely the Pole Plant and the Contracting and Consulting Services (CCS). The pole plant is a fully computerized state of the art technology in pole treatment. This makes it a unique pole treatment plant in Africa and Zimbabwe in particular. It as the capacity to produce about 20 000 poles per year.
CCS was formed in January 2008 as the Commercial unit to provide consultancy and projects implementation competencies to cater for customers with ready cash who do not want to wait for the subsidized roll out programs which usually takes long to implement. These rural projects include electricity grid extension, renewable technologies, projects planning and implementation among others. Contracting and Consulting Services department charges commercial market rates and does work in the time frame required by the project beneficiary.
- Supply of wooden creosote treated poles (transmission; fencing; roofing; fibre optic poles and cross arms).
- High voltage (11kv & 33kv) line construction.
- Medium voltage (L T) line construction.
- Substation construction (from 5 kVA upwards) at 11 kV & 33 kV.
- Internal wiring of buildings.
- Installation of generators.
- Design and installation of solar systems (solar home systems (SHS), mini grid solar systems, solar pumps)
- Way leave clearances for existing and new power lines and substations.
- Small to large scale biogas digesters design and construction.
- Consultancy services grid, solar systems and biogas digesters.