Residents angry with Zesa estimate bills

HARARE - Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) in the public interest and in the fulfilment of its vision of a free and prosperous citizenry continued to receive reports from residents owing to the continued use of estimated billing instead of actual meter readings to reflect actual consumption.

Residents are concerned with the operations of the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZETDC), as the billing authority. “This has left the majority of the populace in debt, given the social and economic hardships.”

Widespread power disconnections have followed across Harare, including some buildings in the Central Business District.

During the first two weeks of August 2012, the HRT recorded 180 cases of residents whose electricity had been disconnected, with the majority of these cases based on estimated bills.

As a success, the HRT has been able to have these cases re-evaluated to reflect actual consumption as residents are being trained to read their own meters.

“The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has not satisfactorily explained how residents’ bills have continued to rise above their incomes and capacities.

“The HRT urges Zesa to immediately review the bills of the residents downwards to reflect actual consumption and the capacity or ability of the recipients of the services to pay,” said HRT.

The residents’ body urged Zesa’s public relations officials to be available when they are needed to address residents’ concerns within communities.

“HRT strongly advocates for the complete reduction of the debts owed to ZETDC by the residents.

In line with the HRT objective Number  three “to facilitate engagement among council officials, service providers and the citizenry to improve the standards of living in Harare Metropolitan Province”, the organisation will continually endeavour to seek and facilitate dialogue between ZETDC and the residents in order to reach a common understanding in pursuit of an efficient electricity provision system.

“Also in line with objective Number four to “monitor and audit the performance of service providers so that they deliver quality and affordable services to the citizenry”, the HRT will continue to closely monitor how the national power utility provides services to its customers to ensure accountability and value for money for the residents. A transparent billing system is a must if electricity consumers are going to pay up their bills.”

Below is a summarised brief on the provision of electricity and its distribution in the various suburbs within Harare based on information provided by HRT Community Coordinators and the various suburban residents’ committees:

Waterfalls: Uplands, Picnic Park, Hilton Park, Cheviot and Shortson areas experience electricity power outages from 0510 hours or 0600 hours in the morning to around 1300 hours.

When there is no electricity in the morning it will be back in the afternoon or it is vice-versa.

The electricity is usually cut off for seven hours. Residents are forced to buy paraffin which costs US$1,15 per litre and firewood which costs $1 for four pieces.

Mbare: Power outages are usually experienced for five hours in Mbare National, Jourburg Lines, Nenyere and Mbare flats.

At Matapi hostels, there is rarely load shedding because they are interconnected to Matapi Police Station and home industrial areas.

Hatfield: Residents have always been satisfied with supplies. However, in the past three weeks, electricity supplies have been cut off in excess of four hours daily.

Borrowdale/Mount Pleasant: An improvement has been noted by most residents but they require Zesa to follow a known timetable.

The residents are sometimes switched off for an hour or for five hours then switched on.

Greendale, Mandara, Highlands and Chisipite — Improvements have been noted by residents.

Duration of load shedding has been reduced from eight to five hours per day in the last week.
 
Residents are mainly complaining due to increased expenditure on fuels for their generators and firewood and paraffin in place of electricity.

Tashinga — Electricity outages are experienced from 0500 hours to 1300 hours daily.

Dzivarasekwa — The area experience power outages for averagely four hours.

Kuwadzana Extension — There is an average of eight hours without electricity every day.

Kuwadzana — an average of eight hours to 9 hours without electricity.

Warren Park — Power outages averagely eight hours a day.

Highfield, Jerusalem and Egypt — During weekdays there are power outages from are experienced from 9am to 2pm and on particular days load shedding is experienced between 2pm and 9pm.

The load shedding at times alternates between the two suburbs.

Glen View — Electricity is available from 8pm to 9am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday but on Tuesdays and Thursdays there is electricity supply during the day from 9 am to 6pm.

Glen Norah A — Electricity is supplied four hours during the day and power cuts are experienced twice or thrice a day, increasing the risk to people and damage of electrical gadgets.
 
Glen Norah B — There is load shedding from 2pm to 10pm during the day.

Budiriro 4 — Load shedding is experienced twice a day from 6am to 12pm and from 2pm to 8pm during weekdays.

Budiriro 3 — There is no supply during the day from 6am to 8pm especially during weekdays.
Mufakose — Electricity has been supplied consistently from the first week of August.

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