Zesa threat­ens power dis­con­nec­tions to re­cover $1 bil­lion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Pamela Shumba

ZESA will soon em­bark on mas­sive na­tion­wide power dis­con­nec­tions to re­cover more than $1 bil­lion from de­fault­ing con­sumers.

Zesa Hold­ings spokesper­son Mr Fullard Gwasira yes­ter­day told The Chron­i­cle both com­mer­cial and do­mes­tic con­sumers were ne­glect­ing to pay electricity bills.

He said the Zim­babwe Electricity Trans­mis­sion and Dis­tri­bu­tion Com­pany (ZETDC) would han­dover stub­born de­fault­ers to lawyers.

“Electricity con­sumers owe us over a bil­lion dol­lars. We’ve in­ten­si­fied rev­enue col­lec­tion ef­forts in or­der to main­tain the pre­vail­ing sta­ble power sup­ply.

“To that end we’re ad­vis­ing all cus­tomers in ar­rears to pay up their bills im­me­di­ately or ap­proach our cus­tomer ser­vice with work­able pay­ment plans to avoid the in­con­ve­niences as­so­ci­ated with with­drawal of sup­plies,” said Mr Gwasira.

He said the smooth power sup­ply- free from load shed­ding- could only be main­tained if con­sumers con­stantly pay for electricity.

“We’re com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing the pre­vail­ing re­li­able power sup­ply sit­u­a­tion, which is only be­ing made pos­si­ble by sta­ble lo­cal gen­er­a­tion and pre­paid power im­ports.

“I would like to urge all de­fault­ing cus­tomers to pay their bills on time to avoid the in­con­ve­nience of dis­con­nec­tion. All de­fault­ers who do not re­spond will be handed over to our lawyers,” said Mr Gwasira.

He said the power util­ity has since is­sued no­tices in the press no­ti­fy­ing con­sumers about ZETDC’s move, in line with its credit con­trol mea­sures.

“There has been an in­crease in the num­ber of de­fault­ers. This has re­sulted in the debt ris­ing to over $1 bil­lion and con­strain­ing the ca­pac­ity of the com­pany to pay for critical obli­ga­tions such as electricity im­ports, coal and spares to re­pair faults and statu­tory obli­ga­tions,” said Mr Gwasira.

The Zim­babwe En­ergy Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity (Zera) re­cently turned down Zesa’s re­quest for a 13,6 per­cent tar­iff in­crease.

Sev­eral con­sumers have over the years con­tin­ued to ac­cuse Zesa of in­flat­ing bills. They claim most bills are based on es­ti­mates.

To re­con­nect cus­tomers, Zesa charges a re­con­nec­tion fee of $10 for do­mes­tic con­sumers and $20 for busi­nesses.

Un­der the Zim-As­set blue­print, Zesa is tar­get­ing to in­stall 800 000 pre­paid me­tres by 2018 and has al­ready con­nected 550 000 cus­tomers.

Zesa in­tro­duced pre­paid me­ter­ing tech­nol­ogy to re­place the con­ven­tional billing sys­tem that had been pos­ing chal­lenges to the power util­ity.

Pre­paid me­ter­ing has helped im­prove cash flows for the com­pany.

In­for­ma­tion, Me­dia and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary Mr George Charamba is also a keen pho­tog­ra­pher. In this pic­ture, taken re­cently in Nkayi, he shows Mrs Thandiwe Moyo and his son Din­gubuhle some pho­tos of them he had taken dur­ing a tour of their old homestead. The Moyos were re­lo­cated to a new home as their old one was too close to Cross-Zenga broad­cast­ing mast. (Pic­ture by Eliah Saushoma)

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