HomeLocal NewsHigh Zesa charges abuse of monopoly— report

High Zesa charges abuse of monopoly— report

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Investigations by the Zimbabwe Competition and Tariffs Commission have revealed that the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) could have abused its monopoly by charging high energy tariffs.
The commission recently completed its probe and the initial report showed the energy utility has abused its monopoly.
The investigations followed an outcry from both business and domestic consumers who felt Zesa was charging excessive tariffs.
Most of the tariffs were based on estimates as the power utility did not undertake meter reading to provide actual bills to consumers.
Worse still, power outages were the order of the day disrupting consumers resulting in business, industry and commerce incurring huge losses in financial gain.
According to the report at hand, Alexander Kububa director of the commission indicated investigations revealed possible abuse of the billing systems by the power utility.
“We have concluded investigations into Zesa’s billing system and we are looking at possible abuses of its monopoly by charging high power tariffs,” he said.
Kububa said the commission was overwhelmed by input from both domestic and business consumers.
He said Zesa could not in most instances respond to concerns raised by consumers.
“Most of the issues asked by consumers were reasonable. For example, people were asking why they were expected to pay for electricity they did not consume.
“The issue of estimated bills presented by consumers was also very critical,” said Kububa.
He said the consumers also raised the issue of fixed charges arguing that they could not be made to pay estimated tariff charges when they spent most of the time without electricity due to Zesa’s heavy load-shedding regime.
“Some of the issues raised could have been explained by Zesa but the fact that they failed to do so means we need to take a closer look at the issues raised,” said Kububa.
Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira refused to comment on the issue saying the power utility had not received the outcome of the probe.
“I cannot comment on the issue because as Zesa we are still waiting for a formal communication of the outcome of the investigation.
“We have not received anything formal yet,” he said.
Domestic and business consumers have since January complained that the power utility was charging increased tariffs, based on wild estimates which did not even account for the long periods of load-shedding consumers were subjected to.
Fixed line telephone operator Tel One, local authorities and cellular service providers have also come under the spotlight for the same criticism in their billing systems and the tariffs commission was still probing their operations with a view to moderate the charges and bring them in line with regional tariff structures.

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