ZESA in desperate bid to recover US$62 million from top govt bosses


TOP government officials, critical security establishments, including police stations and ministry departments, were left in the dark last week after the country’s power utility, Zesa, switched them off in an attempt to recover US$62 million owed by exporting companies and ZW$17 billion by ordinary consumers.

The NewsHawks, after reporting on the blitz last week, established that several farms, some owned by government and politically connected individuals who were notorious for not paying for electricity were switched off. All along, they were being shielded from load shedding, but the blitz exposed how the bigwigs have not been paying for services rendered by parastatals.

Zesa executive chairperson Sydney Gata confirmed the blitz in a speech at the handover of vehicles in Harare,  but would not disclose those who were left in the dark. However, sources confirmed that government officials, councils, institutions and some police stations were affected.

“In as much as we try to capacitate the business, break even and deliver excellent quality service, we are owed US$62 million and ZW$17 billion by customers,” Gata said.

“We have since embarked on an aggressive debt collection blitz to recover what is owed to us. Just this past weekend, we disconnected various defaulters.”

This comes amid reports that local authorities are also planning a similar blitz, with

prominent names of companies and individuals also featuring prominently.

It emerged that of late, the power utility’s load shedding was not affecting powerful people, including politicians whose businesses consume a lot of electricity, while it affected lower-end power users.

“The challenge is that we are now in serious competition with other countries that rely on the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) for power. With Mozambique and Zambia generating much of the power, they now need payments upfront,” a local engineer told The NewsHawks this week.

Zimbabwe needs over US$17 million a month for electricity now coming mainly from Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM) and Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco).

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