Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Under pressure ZESA promises to stop disconnections

Under pressure ZESA promises to stop disconnections

By Alex Bell
09 November 2012

The national power utility has promised to stop disconnecting customers with 
outstanding payments, while it faces more pressure to sort out its billing 

ZESA has ordered its regional managers countrywide to stop power 
disconnections, to fall in line with a directive from the Energy Minister 
Elton Mangoma more than two months ago. In August, Mangoma had said the 
disconnections would stop while the power utility was installing prepaid 
meters to households across the country.

However, the directive was not honoured and there have been ongoing reports 
of customers being disconnected, despite many insisting that the estimated 
bills provided by ZESA do not match their actual power usage.

Jenni Williams, who leads the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), 
said on Friday that the orders to stop the disconnections will come as a 
welcome relief. WOZA has been pressuring ZESA throughout the past year to 
sort out its billing and power shortage issues, and provide customers with a 
proper service. Williams told SW Radio Africa that the ongoing 
disconnections have been a source of anger and discontent for many of their 

Williams also welcomed a court decision which could see ZESA reimbursing its 
customers. An administrate court last week ruled that an energy tariff 
increase of more than 30%, that was imposed more than a year ago, was 

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries had contested the new tariff on the 
basis that when it was approved, the board of the Zimbabwe Electricity 
Regulatory Authority (ZERA) was not properly constituted as required by the 
law. The Administrative Court president Herbert Mandeya ruled that the 
increase was invalid, and ordered ZERA to come up with a new tariff in three 
months. Until then, the old tariffs imposed in 2009 will be charged.

There is also still no indication of how the power authority plans to 
reimburse customers directly or credit their accounts. WOZA’s Williams said 
that either way it is a vindication for those who raised concerns about 
being overcharged by ZESA. Williams however raised concerns about the 
possible implications of the court decision, warning that ZESA had slowly 
begun to improve.

“In 2009 when the old tariff was set we had come out of the most dismal 
economic downturn ever. A lot of our rates and prices had not been properly 
established and there was a phase of experimentation. What we saw subsequent 
to that in the last year, we saw somehow less power cuts, the stabilisation 
of a pricing structure. So there have been incremental although slow 
improvements,” Williams said.

She expressed concern that these improvements will be reversed if ZESA is 
now taking less money every month, after overcharging people for over a 
year. She said the implications of that could likely mean more power cuts in 
the future.

“I’m led to believe that because there have been more customers paying, ZESA 
has been in a better position. But now if they are in a negative balance and 
they need to refund their consumers, it will prejudice their abilities to 
pay for power,” Williams said.

ZESA spokesman Fullard Gwasira had agreed to speak to SW Radio Africa on 
Friday, but he was not reachable by phone. 


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