Whilst at present it is not possible to secure at once funding for all its financial commitments, the parastatal’s current apparent heavy dependence on corporate clients for income, and failure to sufficiently collect from all consumers is unacceptable.
Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) supplies power to both households and industry.
Some homes have never received any power bill since 2009 whilst others have not paid a cent. If ZETDC were to go all out collecting payments from each customer their cash flow position would certainly be significantly better than it presently is. Grumbling in the press about monies owed by customers is not helpful when they are not doing enough to collect it.
The starting point is to immediately invest in sound billing and payments collecting infrastructure. Manually preparing bills is both inefficient and unreliable. Huge inconsistencies and irregularities are being reported on many accounts.
Asking consumers to pay fixed amounts of US$30 and US$40, or using estimates in billing is utter nonsense. The Energy minister should move away from such thinking.
The cost of generating or importing power is not based on estimates or some thumb sucked fixed amounts. ZETDC must consistently take meter readings for every household and commercial consumer, in both rural and urban areas, and update each account.
Armed with arrears details based on actual meter readings, they must tirelessly go all out disconnecting defaulters. Services of the police may be enlisted where necessary especially in cases of resistance and threats from non-progressive consumers. Any such resistance must not be tolerated.
This is the surest way by which the parastatal will improve its cash flows at present. Consistently pestering corporate consumers alone while half-heartedly focusing on households, is missing it.
Power generation and importation has not stopped. Supplies to households are continuing. It makes little sense that the bulk of the funding for the generation and importation comes from industrial consumers while many household consumers are either not paying or paying less than they consume.
Zesa’s income is in all their clients. They should go and get it from all and not moan in the press over unpaid bills.