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. 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.