Why Is Zimbabwe Banning Electric Water Heaters?

What’s Wrong with the Popular Plumbing Systems

Zimbabwe water heater

When it comes to water heaters, the majority of households have either an electric-powered water heater or a gas-powered water heater. These two types are the most common water heaters. So why, then, did the African country of Zimbabwe recently ban electric water heaters (also called ‘geysers’) from their homes?

Energy officials say that over the next five years, the water heaters will be phased out. In an article by, Energy and Power Development Minister Dr. Samuel Undenge said, “We want to embark on this programme starting January next year. Of course replacing the geysers will take some time. We will not immediately ban them but will let the programme roll on.”

This push from the government is meant to combat big power shortages that are frequent in the area. For the last several years, Zimbabwe has been regularly hit with mass blackouts. Some blame them on the low water levels at Kariba Dam, which produces hydroelectric power. Others blame them on the country’s lack of energy sector investment over the past few decades.

Currently, there are around 300,000 water heaters across the country that account for around 40% of any given household’s electricity bill. By building solar-powered water heaters for new homes and facilities and replacing old electric ones, the country hopes to save around 300-400 megawatts of electricity (about the power of one electrical power plant).

Because the water heaters will be manufactured locally, the project will also create local jobs and, according to Dr. Undenge, could unlock up to 10,000 megawatts of electrical energy per year if it reaches its full potential.

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