ZESA Holdings (Zesa) customers yesterday expressed outrage over failure to buy electricity tokens after the power utility’s payment platforms were overwhelmed, the Daily News reports.
Customers endured long hours in queues at Zesa offices across the country over the past few days as they battled to buy the prepaid electricity tokens. Some of them claimed their houses had been plunged into darkness after failing to access the tokens.
“This is the third day trying to buy electricity, but to no avail. Other forms of payment are not working.
“It’s really a struggle to buy an electricity token during the first week of each month,” Nyarai Sibindi of Waterfalls in Harare said yesterday.
“The country is under a coronavirus national lockdown which encourages people to minimise movements and stay at home, but how can people stay without electricity?”
Another electricity user, Moses Tendaupenyu of Marondera, concurred with Sibindi, saying Zesa should consider people’s lives first.
“What Zesa is doing is not fair considering that the country is under lockdown.
“The huge crowds we are seeing at their offices are not encouraged during this period,” Tendaupenyu said.
Zesa’s subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), which is responsible for electricity distribution and retailing, yesterday apologised to customers.
“ZETDC would like to apologise to its valued customers for the long turnaround periods in the processing of transactions in the purchase of electricity.
“ZETDC advises that delays being experienced by customers are due to high volumes of token purchases during the beginning of the month and are putting pressure on the system, a position that we are in the process of addressing,” reads part of their statement.
The power utility dispelled claims that electricity was cheaper when purchased in the first week of each month.
“ZETDC further advises customers that the lifeline tariff is enjoyed once a month when they make the first token purchase of units any day during any calendar month, therefore it is not true that electricity is cheaper when purchases are done within the first five days of the month.
“In order to assist customers, prepayment vouchers will indicate how the units purchased are charged and the bands to which they belong, in compliance with the provisions as set by the regulator,” the firm said.