Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
Zesa, needs to get tough with debt collection to recover $1,2 billion legacy debt owed by consumers across the country, Energy and Power Development Deputy Minister, Magna Mudyiwa, said yesterday.
She told an inter-ministerial roundtable at the on-going 2019 Mine Entra indaba that Zesa was crippled partly because consumers are not been paying bills. Such consumers have no moral ground to criticise Zesa or Government for the biting load shedding presently being experienced in the country.
“Zimbabwean citizens and corporates owe Zesa an enormous figure of $1,2 billion.
The mining industry owing specifically $71,9 million, which translates to 6,7 percent of the total debt,” said Deputy Minister Mudyiwa.
She said such debts were crippling the operations of Zesa as the utility was failing to raise required funds to recapitalise.
“Sooner or later Zesa will embark on an aggressive debt collection programme to try and meet the payments from people who owe the utility,” said Deputy Minister Mudyiwa.
Domestic and industrial consumers as well as farmers are some of the consumers owing Zesa huge sums of money.
The Deputy Minister, however, commended the mining industry for commitment they have shown towards payment of their debts save for a few that are defaulting.
The mining sector consumes approximately 135 Gigawatts per hour against a nationwide demand of 673GWh per month.
The mining sector consumes an average 20 percent of the electricity.
“And given the numerous changes our country has gone through, it has become eroded and equates to a mere 1,18UScents per kWh (9.86 cents).
Not only is this tariff sub economic, it just means that power is literally being given for free,” said Deputy Minister Mudyiwa.
“Zesa is struggling- understandably so because the tariff is not cost reflective and it is failing to cover the entity’s costs let alone sustain power generation.”
Government recently met Zesa management to deliberate on their concerns regarding the tariff adjustment process. — @okazunga.