Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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ZESA slammed for sticking with estimated bills

ZESA slammed for sticking with estimated bills

By Alex Bell
15 June 2012

Zimbabwe’s Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has been slammed for 
continuing to issue estimated bills to power users across the country, 
despite the unreliable service provided.

ZESA’s Chief Executive, Josh Chifamba, said this week that the power utility 
does not have the money to pay for meter readers. He told the parliamentary 
portfolio committee on state enterprises and parastatals that they have no 
choice but to keep asking for payment based on estimates, because meter 
readers would mean raising rates.

A report from that same committee has revealed that there was no correlation 
between the ZESA charges and services rendered, with some users being 
charged, despite not using power.

“For example, one lady in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo, during one of the meetings 
stated that while she was away in South Africa for three months after having 
settled her bills and locked the house, upon return she found a US$500 bill 
awaiting her despite the house being uninhabited. The lady informed the 
committee that efforts to get ZESA to rectify that had not yielded any 
results,” the report said.

The report also said that many consumers, who had gone for days without 
electricity due to faults in the ZESA system, still received high bills 
every month.

Simbarashe Moyo from the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) 
slammed ZESA for what he called their “incompetence and insincerity.” He 
told SW Radio Africa that ZESA bills do not tally with the service being 
provided, and often “there is no service to speak of.”

“This is a parastatal that clearly does not care at all about the plight of 
residents. Most people don’t have jobs, they can’t afford the bills, but if 
they don’t pay they get cut off,” Moyo said.

The CHRA official said that privatisation of the electricity authority 
should be seriously considered, because the entire country was being 
affected by ZESA’s mismanagement.

“Parastatals like ZESA are not doing well because they are run on the basis 
of government nepotism. So it would be good to privatise because once you 
invite competition, you’ll have better service. And all Zimbabweans want is 
proper service,” Moyo said.

ZESA was earlier this year forced into defending itself after it was 
revealed that top level government officials were defaulting on their bills, 
but still receiving service. This included the Mugabe family, who owed more 
than US$300,000 to the utility.

These revelations came as ZESA recommitted itself to cutting off all bill 
defaulters. But to date only general members of the public have been 
punished in this way.


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