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Tuesday, Jul 16th

Zim switches on to prepaid electricity billing

zimpower

Zimbabwe’s electricity consumers are soon to have prepaid meters as the state power utility is in a bid to enhance revenue collections.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has been criticised for incorrectly billing consumers, with calculations based on estimates instead of actual meter readings.

Most of the power utility’s billing system and infrastructure, said an activist yesterday, is outdated and needs to be overhauled, hence Zesa’s move to install the prepaid billing meters.

Four companies have been contracted to install the pre-paid meters, although finer details could not immediately be established.

“Currently Zesa’s billing system is chaotic and does not inspire confidence in the consumers’ minds,” said Precious Shumba, spokesperson for the Harare Residents’ Trust.

But starting next month, Zesa will start initiating a pilot project in Harare for the eventual installation of the prepaid meters throughout the country. The system, said company officials, will be implemented in July this year.

Engineer Julian Chinembiri, managing director of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company – a subsidiary of Zesa – said: “The four suppliers will firstly supply 6 000 meters each which will be used for the pilot project that starts on June 1 to the end of June. If we are satisfied with the meters, then the much-awaited pre-paid system will start on July 1.

The state power utility is set to intensify its load-shedding programme in a bid to reduce power consumption, likely to surge during the winter period. This has however drawn a barrage of criticism for Zesa, with economists saying this will slow down production and negatively impact on the economy.

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