Zesa cuts off Gweru council

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BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

POWER utility Zesa Holdings on Tuesday disconnected power supply to Gweru City Council over an outstanding $240 million debt, Southern Eye has learnt.

Acting town clerk Vakai Chikwekwe confirmed the development, saying that Zesa cut off power at Town House as well as the local authority’s
waterworks.

“We would like to apologise to ZETDC [Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company] for earlier advising that there is a power outage at the Range Booster,” Chikwekwe said.

“The correct information is that as a local authority, we have been cut off by ZETDC at the Range Booster, White Waters waterworks and at Town House for non-payment of electricity bills.”

Chikwekwe, however, said council was engaging the power company over the issue.

Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association director Cornelia Selipiwe said it was “disheartening” that the local authority was failing to find a lasting solution in settling the outstanding bill “as power cuts have now become the norm in the city”.

“We wonder why they fail to agree with Zesa on a workable payment plan so that there are no such power interruptions,” he said.

Selipiwe said such power cuts affected residents as they had a bearing on service delivery, especially the provision of water at the disconnected waterworks.

At the end of last year, former Gweru mayor Josiah Makombe said council’s electricity monthly bill had doubled to $27 million.

He warned that failure to service the debt could lead to a water shortage.

In May last year, the power utility switched off the council’s water treatment plants over a
$143 249 129 debt and only restored supplies after the local authority committed to a monthly payment plan of $13 million.

Residents have been urging council to turn to solar power energy to avert water challenges as a result of incessant power cuts by Zesa.

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