Zesa angers residents

Zesa has adopted punitive measures against defaulting residents here who have not been paying their electricity bills. Wide spread disconnections have affected thousands in the suburb.

Residents say they are not paying their bills for a number of reasons:

• they are based on estimates and are not a true reflection of actual consumption,

• frequent load shedding,

• faulty billing.

The Harare Residents’ Trust advocates shared responsibility between residents and service providers in service delivery. It believes residents should exhibit their responsibility in service delivery mainly by paying bills for services rendered. However, rates should be affordable for the good of the greater public.

The local Member of Parliament, Gift Dzirutwe, is seriously concerned about the situation. He has helped the residents to deal with it by sharing information and providing transport to the Zesa offices in the city centre.

Having received reports of massive power disconnections from the Glen Norah B Residents’ Committee responsible for monitoring and evaluating community service delivery by providers, the HRT facilitated a mobile clinic in the area.

The following key issues came from the interviews:

1. Economic problems: Men and women interviewed aged between 59 and 75 said they had no source of income, which has affected their capacity to settle their bills. Elderly women said that most of them are widowed and they rely mostly on vending activities that do not give them much money for survival. 2. Faulty billing: Residents said that even if they make payments toZesa, their debt continues to sky rocket.

3. Growing insecurity: There is a feeling that residents may losetheir properties as happened to three households in Mabvuku after debt collectors confiscated their properties due to outstanding water rates in February 2012.

4. Unprofessional conduct by ZESA employees: Some of the interviewees saidZesa officials were very uncooperative and hostile when they tried to get detailed explanations about their accounts.

5. Transition to multicurrency system: Although the ZESA PublicRelations Officer, FullardGwasira, reported to HRT Communications Officer, Shingayi Jena, that Zesa scrapped debts following the transition from the Zimbabwe dollar era to the multi-currency regime in February 2009, residents are of the view that the transition was ill-managed and lacked transparency.

Post published in: News

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