‘Gweru debt to Zesa unsustainable’

Gweru City Council has expressed concern over the ballooning electricity bills to Zesa Holdings such that if the power utility was to take stern measures the whole of town house would be switched off.

By Stephen Chadenga

Town clerk Elizabeth Gwatipedza said Zesa’s monthly bill was over $300 000 per month, yet council was only able to pay
$60 000 towards the electricity bills.

The local authority owes Zesa $24 million in unpaid electricity bills.

“We accumulate $350 000 to $400 000 every month, yet we are paying $60 000 to Zesa,” Gwatipedza recently said.

“The rate at which we are accruing debt to Zesa is not sustainable such that if Zesa was to take stern measures, the whole of Town House would be in darkness.”

Gwatipedza said council was in a dilemma with regards to the money owed to Zesa and urged ratepayers to honour up in paying their bills.

At the recently presented 2018 budget, finance director Edgar Mwedzi said council was owed more than $5 million by Zesa for rates of land lying under Zesa power lines, which bill the power utility is
disputing.

Mwedzi said high voltage power cables from Kariba Hydro Power Station that passed through Gweru rendered huge tracts of land unusable.

“Zesa has, however, approached the courts disputing the legality that empowers local authorities to charge them way leaves (rates in lieu of land lying below Zesa electricity lines),” Mwedzi said then.

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