Michael Tome and Jennifer Mufamba
State power utility ZESA Holdings is owed a staggering $15 billion by both individuals and commercial and industrial clients, executive chairman Dr Sydney Gata said on Friday last week.
Dr Gata revealed this at the launch event for the utility’s revenue assurance measures, highlighting the revenue assurance operation was critical for enhancing the electricity revenue collection from customers.
“As it stands, ZESA is owed $15 billion by individuals and companies which is inhibiting the smooth flow of operations in the power utility.
“Some corporate clients, some of them are not paying their bills and even others are engaging in energy theft,” Dr Gata said.
Critically, Dr Gata indicated that the company was also losing out significant potential revenue inflows due illegal connections and primitive ways of billing.
He said; “In 2020 alone we reported a 19 percent system loss, against an international benchmark of only 10 percent.
“Also there are still metering, billing and collections challenges across the country as 100 000 customers are still on load limit and post metering, that kind of metering allows to a lot of leakages.”
Meanwhile, he said ZESA was talking to Mozambique and Zambia over the supply of over 450 megawatts supplementary electricity to complement the current limited generation in the country.
The power utility company is anticipating a supply of 100 megawatts from Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO) and 180 megawatts before Christmas from Mozambique’s Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM) and Cahorra Bassa.
Dr Gata’s power supplies had been restored from faulty units at Hwange Thermal Power Station as well as at Kariba South Hydro Power Station, with the breakdowns having led to 12-hour load-shedding across the country.
Operations at the Kariba South Hydro Power Station are now stable as all the units are now back in service following the recovery from a regional power system disturbance that resulted in a loss of interconnection across the region in the past week.
While addressing at the event Dr Gata revealed that the power utility had enough strategies to deal with power shortfalls up the sleeve as the nation moves towards the end of the year.
“ . . . let me assure that we have a strategic response to the current emergencies in supply demand short falls and also our contribution to national development strategy 1 (NDS) , within the next few years up to 2024 which is the national target delivery date for NDS .
“To meet the current electricity shortages we are not short of strategic responses, as we speak today, we are just about to finalise an agreement with Zambia’s ZESCO which will immediately deliver 100MW and 200MW in January that ought to give us some stability, we are also about to conclude agreement with Cahorra Bassa in Mozambique to deliver 180 mw before Christmas, so there it is some 500 megawatts that will be available and plans for that are now in an irreversible mode, they are going to happen,” said Dr Gata.