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Down with prepaid meters
Women's Institute for Leadership Development
April 04, 2013

Bulawayo Residents have asked ZESA to remove pre-paid meters which were installed last year. The residents feel that the new power system is too expensive to maintain.

Most of the residents feel that the new power system allows ZESA to cheat them of their money. Some even claim that they did not want them installed in their houses but did so because they were not given a choice. “Due to this new power system by ZESA we are forced to spend many hours standing in queues every week. $20 only buys my family of 8, 200 units, which can only sustain an average of 10 days,” said a resident from Mpopoma.

Consumers are outraged by the stance taken by ZESA when it comes to dealing with their complaints. A resident from Kumalo suburb who refused to be named said, “They are taking advantage of the already vulnerable citizens. As it stands people are already struggling with other social obligations such as school fees and yet they sell us electricity at these absurd rates.” It was also a great inconvenience to people during the Easter Holidays as there were no places open to pay their tariffs. “ZESA should open sub-stations where we could buy the units nearby such as post offices or grocery shops. Standing in queues for over 4 hours is such an inconvenience especially when we have other errands to run,” complained a lady resident from Nkulumane 12.

However, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Mr. Patson Mbiriri, said the pre-paid meter system was using a staggered tariff system opposed to a flat tariff to ensure that consumers minimize power usage.

Those who exceed the 300 units are charged at a higher charge of 15 cents per unit.

It is also useful for power consumers to save electricity. Residents should also be in the habit of switching off geysers after bathing because they also consume more power. Power consumers should also make use of electric jugs or kettles to boil water instead of boiling it in pots on the stove.

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