Thursday, February 23, 2012

(NEWZIMBABWE) Mangoma orders mass ZESA disconnections

Mangoma orders mass ZESA disconnections
22/02/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THOUSANDS of homes face electricity disconnections as the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) moves to recover unpaid bills of over US$450 million, the Energy Minister warned on Wednesday.

Elton Mangoma said he wanted to “thank and applaud” those who paid their bills on time, but added that he was “disheartened to note that there are still customers who have not paid at all since the advent of dollarisation in 2009”.

He told a news conference: “This culture of non-payment of bills will not be allowed to continue.

“There is a need for electricity consumers to pay for what they have consumed so that ZESA has capacity to increase electricity availability to all consumers.”

Zimbabweans have become accustomed to power outages over the last decade as the state-owned power utility struggles to meet demand, made worse by collapsing power generation infrastructure and massive debts to foreign suppliers.

Mozambican power supplier Hydro Cahora Basa last week threatened to cut supplies to Zimbabwe over an US$80 million debt, down from about US$100 million at the end of last year.

Mangoma said ZESA aimed to make a further US$40 million payment “in the near future”, while urgently seeking to implement plans to draw power from the Batoka Gorge on the Zambezi – a joint project between the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Batoka Gorge will produce 1,600 to 2,000 MW of power - 50 percent of which will be for Zimbabwe.

But Mangoma insists that ZESA could boost current supply through more rigorous maintenance, increased imports and installation of new capacity if defaulting customers settled their bills.

He said: “Payment of bills is very important as we take measures to build new power stations. We cannot raise funds to build new power stations when the current of non-payment prevails.

“ZESA has availed to customers a facility to propose workable (payment) plans, and regrettably some customers have chosen either to ignore this or not to honour their payment plans, leaving ZESA with no option except to withdraw supplies.
“All customers currently in arrears run the risk of disconnections."

The Energy Minister said defaulters would be given a notice of five days. To avoid disconnection, or to be reconnected where power supply has been suspended, defaulters would be required to pay a minimum of 25 percent of the total bill, with the balance to be paid off “in an approved payment plan with ZESA for a period not exceeding six months”.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home