At the fuel station that Emmanuel Bhuru supervises in Zimbabwe’s second industrial city of Bulawayo, electricity outages are the norm.

As the station has no functional generator, his staff now work shorter hours. For most of their 12-hour shifts, they sit around waiting for electricity to work and then leave an hour early to be able to get home before darkness descends. Perishable products often go bad in the station’s mini-mart fridges, too.

“We lose a lot of perishables because of the power cuts so we’ve cut back and buy less yoghurt, polony [bologna], margarine and other things which spoil easily, and we just have to write it off as a loss because it’s not the manufacturer’s fault,” he said.

The power outages have also led to lower volumes of fuel being sold and the station has continuously failed to meet targets set by the fuel dealer. Bhuru estimates that in July, sales dropped by “close to 70 percent because the power went five to six days a week”. He hopes to have his generator repaired to stave off losses this August.