Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

ZESA rules out debt write-off

ZESA rules out debt write-off

31/10/2010 00:00:00
    by Lunga Sibanda

SOME 35 000 households in the country’s southern regions have had power
supplies switched-off as the national utility, ZESA, refused pleas to
write-off huge bills accrued since the introduction of multiple currencies.

ZESA vowed to continue switching off defaulting customers even as Bulawayo
residents took to the streets last week demonstrating against alleged
corruption, poor service delivery and exorbitant tariffs.

Many have bills averaging between US$500 and US$1000, built up since the
introduction of multiple currencies.

With average monthly wages of around US$200 many said they cannot pay the
bills and urged ZESA to write them off arguing the utility had also used
estimates to convert the money owed into US dollars.

But the utility insisted the bills must be paid and dismissed claims of
inaccurate billing.

“We regret that disconnections … will continue. Debts cannot be written off
because electricity that was imported and consumed by customers needs to be
paid for.

“We are not overcharging customers. Our billing system is functioning well
and the bills we charge are accurate,” Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira

He said ZESA was owed US$400 million by customers and added the utility
risked being cut off by regional supplies if it failed to for supplies.

“We owe regional utilities over $100million for electricity already consumed
by customers, but not paid for.

“This exposes the utility to being disconnected for nonpayment and this
would inevitably increase the extent and duration of load shedding,” he

Gwasira however conceded that Zesa was facing operational constraints but
said these were worsened by customers failing to pay for supplies.

“We are actually not raising enough money from the tariffs to import
adequate power and this negatively impacts on our ability to provide a good
quality service.

“We need revenue to procure spare parts for network maintenance, pay for
electricity imports, coal, cover other operational costs among other inputs
for electricity generation but our tariffs are well below the regional
tariff,” he said.

Gwasira added that his company had complied with the Competition and Tariff
Commission (CTC) directive to reduce bills by 43 percent for customers with
load limiters.


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