Outrage over Zesa prepaid meters

HARARE - Harare residents have slammed power firm Zesa Holdings (Zesa) for its snail paced implementation of a prepaid meter project expected to ease electricity woes.

From being kept in the dark because of constant blackouts to being disconnected as a result of huge debts, residents say the power utility is short-changing them.

Reports say only 100 000 prepaid meters have been installed since August last year when it was launched.

Precious Shumba, coordinator of the Harare Residents Trust, said Zesa is getting millions of dollars from consumers and the money should go towards bankrolling the project.

“Zesa is getting money from unrealistic electricity charges lumped on clients still on fixed meters. They are raising money but that is not translating into progress,” said Shumba.

Shumba said most residents who are using the fixed meter system doubt Zesa’s sincerity to install the prepaid meters in all households.

“The fixed meter billing system is chaotic and confusing. Some are still being forced to pay estimated charges and this has created inconsistency,” said Shumba.

A bulk of the prepaid meters was installed in Harare’s Avenues area and a few households in Highfield and Kuwadzana suburbs.

Combined Harare Residents Association chief executive Mfundo Mlilo said the group was receiving “numerous” queries from members who wanted to know the criterion Zesa was using to install the prepaid meters. - Bridget Mananavire

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