Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe’s debt-crippled power utility plans to get tough

Zimbabwe’s debt-crippled power utility plans to get tough

Feb 14, 2012, 15:18 GMT

Harare – Threatened with being cut off from electricity imports from its 
neighbours for non-payment, Zimbabwe’s state-owned power utility said on 
Tuesday it would cut off hundreds of top politicians and civil servants who 
refuse to pay their bills.

The move comes after Energy Minister Elton Mangoma was castigated in 
parliament after reports that poor people were being disconnected from the 
power grid for arrears as little as 30 dollars, while senior officials had 
not been paying their electricity bills for years.

‘We will start disconnecting all cabinet ministers and MPs (members of 
parliament) who are not paying,’ Mangoma said. ‘There are no sacred cows.’

The minister said unpaid bills by top politicians and senior civil servants 
accounted for a significant part of the 540 million dollars customers owed 
to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA)

Coming in at the head of the list was a provincial governor, Christopher 
Mushowe, who was said to owe ZESA 145,000 dollars. Mushowe did not respond 
to requests for comment.

The ministry itself was said to be in the red to the tune of 30,000 dollars.

Mangoma’s disclosures came as he warned that neighbouring Mozambique had 
threatened to stop imports from its giant Cahora Bassa hydroelectric dam for 
non-payment of 90 million dollars.

‘That is one debt that we have got to service because if we do not, our 
major source of power will go away,’ he said. Zambia is also owed 70 million 

Zimbabwean homes, businesses and hospitals suffer long power cuts daily as 
ZESA can produce only 1,300 megawatts each day. Average daily demand is 
about 2,200 MW. The country has been turning to its neighbours for power 
since 2000.

ZESA said it is planning to distribute 5.5 million energy-saving fluorescent 
light bulbs, and is also introducing pre-paid electricity meters.


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