ZESA ups prepaid meter rollout to streamline revenue collection

HARARE – Struggling power utility, ZESA is intensifying its prepaid, smart meter rollout programme to try and streamline its erratic revenue collection measures with debt owed by customers riding on the post-paid platform ballooning to ZW$42 billion.

The nationwide project, according to the power utility’s subsidiary Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), is one of the strategies aimed at ensuring the company benefits substantially from selling the scarce resource with hopes to end the country’s recurrent power crisis partly blamed on failure to pay bills by some clients.

Zimbabweans continue to endure periods of 12-16 hours a day without electricity in a situation that threatens the country’s economic recovery prospects.

ZETDC acting managing director Engineer Ralph Katsande told ZimLive Wednesday the pre-paid meter rollout programme was targeting residential areas, farming points and small enterprises whilst smart meters will be extended to large and medium power users.

“The launch is starting in Harare Region and will be rolled out to all other regions,” Katsande said.

“Harare Region has over 300,000 customer base with a total of 268,484 installed prepaid meters, thus giving us a balance of 40,363 points to be installed.

“The region will also witness installation of 2,500 smart meters to high priority customers and those companies with negative debt history.”

Currently, ZETDC has managed to migrate 751,000 domestic customers and small business points to the prepaid platform and 103,000 points are still remaining on the old post-paid and load limit platform.

The remaining 103,000 points, although low as compared to the installed number, generates the greater portion of the revenue streams of the utility as this group of clients consist of maximum demand customers and commercial points.

Katsande underscored the urgency of migrating the remaining 103,000 points to prepaid metering platform starting with residential clients and small business units.

“ZETDC is confident that no point will be left behind as it has since procured the balance of prepaid meters and this has been made possible by the recapitalization of the business.

“The utility is expecting that by the end of the second quarter, every client on the post-paid platform would have been moved to the prepaid meter system.

“In that regard, installations on domestic load limit points will in the process be modified to facilitate prepaid meter installations,” he said.

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