HARARE – Harare City Council owed Zesa holdings more than $100 million for electricity as at August 2017.
According to audit committee minutes, heavy users of electricity are Morton Jaffray, Warren Control, Prince Edward and Firle water treatment and sewer works.
The huge bill comes as the city is failing to meet its statutory obligations such as Zesa, Nssa and pension funds.
“Harare Water owes Zesa Holdings a total sum of $114 million as at August 31 2017, with a monthly interest of $478 800. The monthly Zesa bill of Harare is at $1,543 million. The committee resolved that sustained efforts must be made to clear the Zesa debt by aggressively collecting debts to council by residents who consumed the water generated by electricity at water and sewerage treatment plants,” read part of the minutes.
The minutes also note that payments to the power utility are mainly with respect to MJ and Warren Control while no payments were made for other cost centres between January and August last year.
Audit committee minutes also emphasised that there was no register for recording and analysing monthly electricity consumption and reconciling them with Zesa statements.
To remedy the high power bill, council resolved to work with Zesa staff on meter reading so that the correct recordings are made.
“The committee resolved that council should negotiate the scrapping of interest on overdue accounts with Zesa and council should reciprocate by scrapping interest on overdue accounts for charges to Zesa as these are both public enterprises,” read the minutes.
At the Rapid Results Initiative workshop held yesterday, council engineer Calvin Chigariro said all 56 Mbare flats have accumulated a power bill of $10 million.
He said because of the huge bill, council had resolved to introduce individual meters in each unit as the power bill had become a heavy burden to the city.
“The problem is that the occupants of the flats do not pay the bill and that bears a burden on the ratepayers who now have to pay for the electricity used in the flats. However there are some issues with installation of individual meters as the wiring is now old and needs to be replaced for the exercise to be successful,” Chigariro said.
Harare is drowning in debt with the city currently owed more than $740 million, with the biggest debtors being domestic and commercial debtors at 45 percent and 36 percent respectively.