In­dus­try, mines top Zesa debtors list

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Love­more Zi­gara Mid­lands Cor­re­spon­dent

IN­DUS­TRY and min­ing firms are at the top of the list of debtors who owe power util­ity Zesa Hold­ings in the South­ern Re­gion, a re­port has shown.

The power util­ity is owed $279.1 mil­lion with in­dus­trial and min­ing cus­tomers’ debt con­sti­tut­ing 73 per­cent in the re­gion. Zesa South­ern Re­gion com­prises of the en­tire Mid­lands, parts of Mata­bele­land North and parts of Mashona­land East Prov­inces.

The debt is part of the over $1 bil­lion owed to Zesa across the coun­try. Re­cently the power util­ity threat­ened to pull the plug on cus­tomers who are in ar­rears.

Zesa south­ern re­gion gen­eral man­ager Engi­neer King Dube told Busi­ness Chron­i­cle that non-pay­ment of bills by cus­tomers was neg­a­tively af­fect­ing the com­pany’s op­er­a­tions and vi­a­bil­ity.

He said: “As at July 2016, ZETDC South­ern Re­gion was owed $279,1 mil­lion by its clients com­prised of min­ing and in­dus­trial com­pa­nies, which stands at $203,1 mil­lion while com­mer­cial clients owe us $53.1 mil­lion, do­mes­tic $15,7 mil­lion, farm­ers and in­sti­tu­tions owe $7.2 mil­lion.

“Un­paid bills are neg­a­tively ham­per­ing our op­er­a­tions and vi­a­bil­ity. We would like to in­form our val­ued clients with out­stand­ing debts that credit con­trol mea­sures are un­der­way through­out the re­gion in or­der to re­cover the ar­rears to en­able us to im­prove ser­vice de­liv­ery. Cus­tomers are en­cour­aged to set­tle their bills to avoid in­con­ve­niences of be­ing dis­con­nected.”

Among the big­gest in­dus­trial and min­ing debtors are Sable Chem­i­cals, which is be­lieved to be ow­ing about $150 mil­lion, Zi­masco and Sabi Gold Mine.

Engi­neer Dube said pre-paid me­ter in­stal­la­tions rep­re­sented 94 per­cent of its cus­tomers in the province with the ma­jor­ity be­ing do­mes­tic con­sumers. He warned cus­tomers of tam­per­ing with the me­ters which he said is crim­i­nal.

“As of 30 July 2016 pre­pay­ment me­ter in­stal­la­tions were stand­ing at 77 276 rep­re­sent­ing 94 per­cent of our to­tal cus­tomer base of 82 437. Ninety five per­cent of me­ters in­stalled in the re­gion have anti-tam­per­ing fea­tures, which au­to­mat­i­cally dis­con­nects power to the cus­tomer if the me­ter con­nec­tions are tam­pered with.

“We also run con­tin­u­ous ran­dom house­hold in­spec­tions to check in­tegrity of our me­ter­ing units. This means we will stum­ble upon any other un­re­ported case of me­ter tam­per­ing. The other five per­cent of the me­ters are mounted on pole tops to en­sure un­scrupu­lous cus­tomer will not be able to ac­cess the me­ters to tam­per with them. Those found on the wrong side are re­ported to the po­lice as it is a crim­i­nal of­fence to tam­per with ZETDC me­ters, which at­tracts 10 years im­pris­on­ment if con­victed,” he added. — @lavuzi­gara1

Zi­masco plant in Kwekwe

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