Customers owe Zesa $600 million and the power utility is now unable to sustain its operations, Parliament was told yesterday.
Enock Ncube, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) commercial director, told the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security the utility was facing serious viability problems because customers were not paying their bills.
“Zesa is not in business at the moment,” he said. “We are owed over $600 million. We are not a flourishing business because customers are not able to pay and are not paying.”
He stunned the committee when he claimed that from February 2009, all accounts were cleared of previous balances but some customers had not paid their bills since the country adopted multiple currencies in 2009.
“Unfortunately, we have been seeing people who haven’t paid anything from 2009.
“So the accusation that we are very fast in disconnecting people is not true,” he said.
Manicaland Senator Chief Chiduku argued that customers were defaulting because they were unhappy with the services they were getting from the power utility.
ZEDTC acting managing director Howard Choga told the committee that there was inadequate power hence the load-shedding.
He said that they were guided by government, which directs them on who should be switched off and who should not.
The problem, he added, was that every sector — mining, manufacturing and farming — placed demands on them claiming they were the ones who generated money.
“We know there are essential services and we are under direction not to disconnect them,” he said. “We have heard complaints before why others were not disconnected. It’s because they would be connected to a line that feeds the essential service providers.”
He said on average, electricity bills for households in the high-density areas should range between $25 and $30 while customers in low-density
areas should pay between $50 and $70.