The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (Zetdc) says it has so far recovered $35 million in debt after disconnecting over 37 000 defaulting customers.
Last year, the Zetdc said it was going to embark on a massive electricity disconnection exercise to recover more than $1 billion from defaulting domestic and commercial customers countrywide. Zetdc managing director, Engineer Julian Chinembiri said the utility was facing several challenges recovering money owed to it.
“Over 37 000 customers were disconnected for debt totalling $150 million. From this only $35 million was recovered,” he said in an interview published in the Zimbabwe Energy Council newsletter.
Going forward, Engineer Chinembiri said focus would be put on improving revenue inflows through enforcing compliance, among other measures.
On pre-paid metres, he said despite challenges faced, progress was being made with 575 669 customers connected to the platform by December 31, 2016.
“There was acute non availability of prepaid metres to complete the target of 673 919 metres by end 2016.”
The pre-paid metre exercise, which commenced in 2012, was partly meant to reduce the high default rate as well as to conserve energy. Zesa is targeting to install 800 000 prepaid meters by 2018. Engineer Chinembiri said other challenges the utility sought to deal with this year included the long waiting periods for new connections and ageing equipment and infrastructure.
Zimbabwe is facing a power deficit, and the Government has identified this as one of the top priority areas in its bid to resuscitate the economy.
The Government, through the Zimbabwe Power Company, has embarked on several projects to bridge the power deficit including expanding existing generating plants and building new ones.
Work has already started to expand Kariba South Power station, the country’s second largest power station, by an additional two units to add a combined 300 megawatts to the national grid. Plans are also in place to add two units at Hwange Thermal Power Station which would have a combined generation capacity of 600 megawatts. – New Ziana.