Power utility loses $5 million to theft

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The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) reportedly lost equipment worth over $5 million to theft and vandalism of its properties between January 2010 and February this year.

“During the period January 2010 to February 2011, ZETDC was prejudiced of copper conductors to the tune of $3 988 000 while theft of transformer oil and general damage to transformers was in the range of $356 375,” said Shepherd Mandzvidza, the ZETDC spokesperson.

Mandizvidza said as a result new customer connections had been severely affected.

“The available equipment is subsequently used for replacement purposes instead of network expansion,” he said.

“Cases of vandalism of electricity pylons also prejudiced the power utility to the tune of
$400 000.

“Thieves stole bolts, guy grips, washers and nuts, a development that contributed to unplanned power cuts to our valued consumers,” Mandizvidza said.

He urged consumers to guard electricity networks jealously against vandalism.

“It should however also be noted that at times consumers mistake load-shedding for power cuts due to theft and vandalism. In the event that power goes off for prolonged periods outside the advertised load-shedding schedules, consumers countrywide are advised to contact their nearest customer service centres for corrective measures to be taken.”

ZETDC also warned against tampering with electricity infrastructure.

A Harare man was on Monday badly burnt when the transformer from which he was stealing oil went ablaze.