BY KENNETH NYANGANI Energy minister Zhemu Soda has said the lack of energy efficiency awareness among citizens has forced the country to import more energy than required, costing the country millions in foreign currency. Soda made the remarks in Mutare yesterday in an address read on his behalf at the national energy efficiency policy development consultative stakeholder workshop. “Previous studies on the status of energy efficiency in Zimbabwe by various organisations have shown that we use old and antiquated equipment in the residential sector, in industry as well as the mining sector, resulting in low energy efficiency levels,” he said. “Energy efficiency awareness by our citizens was also reported to be lacking, leading to unnecessary energy losses in terms of both electricity and fuel that the country cannot afford.” He added: “As a result, there is need for demand side management and energy efficiency measures to be put in place in order to save energy, thereby reducing imports and also resulting in savings on foreign currency. “This exercise is part of an overall national energy policy initiative that seeks to create an enabling environment for making clean and affordable energy accessible to all in an upper-middle income economy of 2030.” Zimbabwe has in the past months been subjected to long hours of load-shedding. “Besides efforts by the government and its utilities, it has been noted that inefficient use of energy is still prevalent in many households and institutions. This is shown by the type of machines, gadgets and lighting in use,” Soda said. “The government has so far put a number of measures in place to promote a culture of energy saving in the country.” The measures include the banning of inefficient lighting through a Statutory Instrument in 2017, gazetting of Solar Water Heating Regulations for new buildings through SI 235 of 2019, installation of prepayment meters, awareness activities through various media and exhibitions and introduction of a reactive tariff for industry. Soda said the power and fuel supply situation had greatly improved compared to last year.