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Zesa to install prepaid meters on govt buildings





THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) plans to install prepaid meters on government buildings to curb wastage and contain government's debt to the power utility.

Speaking at a Ministry of Industry and Commerce breakfast meeting, which was held in conjunction with Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) yesterday, Energy and Power Development minister Fortune Chasi said Zesa was being weighed down by debts.

Parastatals owe $43 million, industry US$95 million and farmers US$143 million to Zesa. Local authorities also owe Zesa US$359 million

Chasi said he had already asked Zesa to give him a rollout plan for installing meters at all government departments.

"No time for politicking on the issue. When you have a debt, you simply must pay. This is what I want. I would like to make a very impassioned appeal to commerce and industry; to say you owe a significant amount of money to Zesa, initially denominated in US$. This is a very serious situation we are facing, partly because we have been irresponsible; we did not pay our debts," he said.

Chasi said the current tariff was untenable.

"The current tariffs are not sustainable, considering the import and production cost. Tariffs are going to be reviewed as a matter of urgency. Kariba is currently at 24% capacity; the situation is dire. Without power, no investor will come so this is an issue we really must address together," he said.

Zimbabwe is enduring 18 hours of load shedding as the generation capacity has plummeted way below the country's peak demand of 1 800MW.

The country is generating just 738 MW with Munyati power station at 16MW, Harare (15MW) Kariba (530MW) and Hwange (177MW).

The power outrages have crippled business, resulting in lost production, with companies forced to reduce work hours and rely on generators.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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