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EMA Backtracks After Public Panic Over Generator Licensing

By Staff Reporter

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) says it will only license generators above 5kVA at a commercial level, following panic among members of the public who are using generators at home due to power cuts currently affecting the country.

Last week, EMA reportedly ordered residents to pay a fine of $100 000 for illegally operating “an air polluting appliance (generator) without a license”.

Residents expressed dismay over the issue.

International crisis analyst Piers Pigou tweeted: “Imagine you must now pay tax to operate a generator in Zimbabwe over 5kVA, yet you have to do so because government can’t supply power. This is the ‘logic’ of a governance culture that is clearly not fit for purpose. Poor Zimbabweans also pay a fee for radio in their cars.”

In a statement yesterday, EMA said they meant those operating generators for commercial or industrial use.

“The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) would like to correct a notion that it licences operations of any generator above 5kVA, which has caused unnecessary panic among members of the public especially those using generators at household level or for domestic purposes.

“As a matter of fact, Section 64 of the Environmental Management Act (Cap 20:27) clearly stipulates that: “No owner or operator of a trade or any establishment shall emit a substance or energy which causes or is likely to cause air pollution without an emission licence,” thus clearly indicating that this is an operation at commercial level or for industrial use,” read the EMA statement.

The agency warned offenders that will fail to pay the fixed environmental penalty by February 20 that they risk being issued with warrants of arrest.

Due to the power crisis in the country, residents have resorted to use of generators as an alternative source of energy. NewsDay

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