Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Outcry as ZESA continues disconnections over unpaid bills

Outcry as ZESA continues disconnections over unpaid bills

By Tichaona Sibanda
09 October 2012

There has been huge outcry from ZESA consumers countrywide following the 
power utility’s ongoing program to cut off supplies from those with 
outstanding bills.

Two months ago, Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma ordered 
ZESA to stop disconnecting all consumers with unpaid bills, until it had 
installed prepaid meters. It is hoped that the meters will put an end to 
ZESA’s estimated billing system that thousands of consumers have said do not 
reflect their actual power usage.

The power utility is in the process of rolling out prepaid meters in all 
domestic and business premises, and it expects that in 10 months time 600 
000 customers will have the meters installed. Currently only 19 000 
customers have the new service.

But in apparent defiance of the minister and government’s directive, ZESA 
has been disconnecting power to thousands of defaulting domestic and 
commercial consumers in the past few weeks. The state controlled Herald 
reported that several households and businesses countrywide, including those 
at growth points, have been disconnected.

Mangoma has urged those being disconnected to report to his ministry.

Customers owe the power utility more than $600 million. Many have bills 
averaging between $500 and $1 000, accumulated since the introduction of 
multiple currency system.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa reported that despite Mangoma’s 
directive, ZESA has not stopped disconnecting power to consumers with 
outstanding bills.

He said the problem is that consumers with outstanding bills have not taken 
up ZESA’s advice to negotiate methods of payment with the power utility.

“This is nothing new in Harare, ZESA has not stopped cutting off power for 
months, they do it everyday as long as you owe them money in unpaid bills,” 
Muchemwa reported.

“But if you approach the company and work out a repayment plan, they will 
not cut off power to your household or business premise,” Muchemwa added.

Muchemwa said that such arrangements are understood to have been made by 
high level government defaulters, who were singled out in a report this year 
as not paying their bills. This information was received with anger by 
regular consumers, who complained that the power utility was only 
disconnecting them and not government officials.


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