The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Martin Kadzere Se­nior Busi­ness Reporter

BUSI­NESSES, in­clud­ing min­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers, who owe money for elec­tric­ity risk be­ing cut off by Zim­babwe’s power dis­trib­u­tor af­ter the lapse of a six months grace pe­riod to set­tle their bills.

The Zim­babwe Elec­tric­ity Trans­mis­sion and Dis­tri­bu­tion Com­pany, is strug­gling to re­cover about $1 bil­lion owed by com­pa­nies, farm­ers and house­holds who are on post-paid me­ters and had given them six months to pay or make a pay­ment plan.

“In the in­ter­est of ser­vice pro­vi­sion, the power util­ity is now im­ple­ment­ing its credit con­trol mea­sures to de­fault­ers that did not make an ef­fort to clear their debts or en­gage the power util­ity for pay­ment plan by 31 March 31, 2018,” said ZETDC in a state­ment.

Mean­while, Zesa Hold­ings said it has re­cov­ered nearly $1 mil­lion from con­sumers who tam­pered with me­ters to avoid pay­ing in a blitz tar­geted at curb­ing il­le­gal power con­sump­tion.

The amount also in­clude the cost of re­plac­ing van­dalised prop­erty such as trans­form­ers. Zesa said a to­tal of 267 cases of theft of elec­tric­ity and van­dal­ism of prop­erty were ver­i­fied in 2017, but an­a­lysts be­lieve these could be much more.

“This has prej­u­diced the or­gan­i­sa­tion of its much-needed fi­nan­cial re­sources to ad­e­quately and ef­fi­ciently ser­vice its con­sumers,” Zesa spokesper­son Fullard Gwasira said.

He said the har­vest­ing of cop­per con­duc­tors and re­plac­ing them with alu­minium had scaled down the scourge of theft and van­dal­ism. There was a de­crease in crime rate dur­ing the year 2017 as com­pared to 2016 and the value of loss was lower for 2017.

The van­dals largely tar­geted over­head cop­per con­duc­tors and trans­former oil. In 2016, the power util­ity re­cov­ered prop­erty val­ued at $900 000. Zesa is mem­ber of the South­ern African Power Pool (SAPP) where joint efforts are be­ing put in place to counter theft and van­dal­ism in the re­gion. SAPP rec­om­mended that power util­i­ties es­tab­lish Net­work Equip­ment Crime Com­mit­tees to curb theft and van­dal­ism.

It was also rec­om­mended that power util­i­ties es­tab­lish the con­trolled dis­posal of non-fer­rous metal and trans­former oil, brand­ing of all new equip­ment as well as en­hanc­ing Part­ner­ship Polic­ing and In­dus­try Co­or­di­na­tion and Cross Border Op­er­a­tions.

Lo­cally, the power util­ity is work­ing with the Na­tional Rail­ways of Zim­babwe, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, TelOne and CAFCA. It has since been proposed that the trade in cop­per be banned as the only pro­ducer, Mhangura Cop­per Mines, closed in 1999. As such, the con­tra­band that is in the sys­tem is be­ing mined from the net­works of util­i­ties.

Picture by Justin Mu­tenda

Speaker of Par­lia­ment Ja­cob Mu­denda flanked by CEOs African Round­table chief ex­ec­u­tive Oswel Bimha (right) and Old Mu­tual com­pany sec­re­tary Nqo­bile Mun­zara dur­ing a CEOs meet­ing with Par­lia­ment in Harare yes­ter­day.

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