The Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (BPRA) said it is mooting taking legal action against the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) to compel it to reduce tariffs for consumers, in line with a recent ruling by the Competitions and Tariffs Commission.
Ambrose Sibindi, BPRA programmes coordinator, told residents at a meeting at Emakhandeni Hall in the city they wanted the tariffs reduced by 43%. He said when BPRA members demonstrated against the power utility at the beginning of the year, Zesa duped them by effecting a “discount” on 2009 charges.
“We are getting ready to take Zesa to court because the Competitions and Tariffs Commission had ordered Zesa to reduce tariffs by 43%,” he said.
“We were duped into believing that Zesa had reduced tariffs by 43%, but what they did was to give us a 43% discount on the 2009 bills. However, the amount they are charging remains the same. When they reduced the bills they said there were a lot of power cuts in 2009. I think the power cuts are still the same, if not worse now. We want a reduction in tariffs because the load-shedding is still the same,” he said.
“Even if we go the legal way, we should also do something on the ground. We should all come out to the streets in large numbers to show that we are serious about this,” he said.
Sibindi said as residents, they were disappointed that corruption had increased and this could affect efforts by residents to take action against Zesa.
Contacted for comment, Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said the power utility was prepared to engage residents outside third party interventions.
“When people want to engage Zesa, they come to us. If they decide to sue, then they have sought third party recourse, and there is nothing we can do about that. We will wait. We will cross the bridge when we get there. We are always prepared to engage residents. Our door is always open,” he said.