ZESA owed US$62m, ZW$17bn by defaulting customers

IMG 20220727 WA0003
IMG 20220727 WA0003

Itai Ndongwe

The state power utility ZESA Holdings says it is owed US$62 million and ZWL 17 billion by both individuals and commercial and industrial clients as of last week.

Speaking during a vehicle and work equipment handover ceremony by the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission & Distribution Company (ZETDC), executive chairman Dr Sydney Gata said that the group has embarked on an aggressive debt collection blitz to recover what is owed to them.

 “We are owed US$62million and ZWL17billion by customers. 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,”  Gata said.

Last year’s debt was ZW$15 billion, and unpaid customer debts hampered the power utility’s smooth operation, resulting in a lack of adequate cable fault location equipment. As a result of limited cable fault location equipment shared by regions, timely fault correction has been difficult.

To resolve this concern, ZETDC mentioned that it was able to secure US$188 million in funding from Afreximbank, with a portion of the funds going toward the purchase of cable fault location equipment. It handed over five (5) pieces of cable fault location equipment today while waiting for the other four (4) pieces of cable fault location equipment to arrive next week after the importation processes are completed.

The state utility hopes to raise US$17 million this month to cover its import bills.

 “ZESA continues to engage relevant government ministries to have ZESA capacitated to raise foreign currency to pay for imports as we need US$17million monthly for this.”

Meanwhile, Gata said ZESA has secured 300MW of firm power from EDM, HCB, Eskom, and ZESCO in an effort to ease the bite of the power cuts, which are going on for more than 12 hours a day, in some instances.

Frequent power outages have burdened the fragile economy, which has been buffeted by several headwinds, including a crippling liquidity crunch, foreign currency shortages, currency distortions, and runaway inflation, and the business community has believed that the current power outages will cripple production across various sectors of the economy. On the other hand, using generators as an alternative energy source will continue to be expensive and will not be sustainable in the long run.

The Hwange 7 and 8 extension project is progressing well and will add 600MW to the national grid once completed.

Today, ZESA received 35 operational vehicles in accordance with contractual obligations, which will improve project implementation and fault attendance turnaround time as its business is centered on customer centricity.

ZESA said seven (7) Lorries are already in Harare undergoing pre-delivery inspection. It expects delivery of 8 more Lorries in September 2022.

ZETDC has awarded contracts for the delivery of 589 vehicles during the first half of 2022 and will continue to look for resources until the target has been met.

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