GWANDA residents have called on Zesa to install prepaid meters complaining that they continuously received highly disputed estimated bills.
The power utility aimed to install 600 000 prepaid units, but the project stalled.
Prepaid meters have an advantage in that one pays for the electricity consumed and the bill does not accumulate.
Residents in other towns have widely applauded the project saying they were relieved to have the freedom to manage their electricity usage by paying for actual consumption.
A cross section of Gwanda residents said they felt cheated by the continued use of the old system.
“The electricity bills are too high and in most occasions they are estimates and not actual readings.
“We appeal to the authorities to help us by installing prepaid meters like in other areas in the country. Estimated bills are affecting us financially,” Melusi Moyo, a resident from Gwanda’s Pelandaba high-density suburb, said.
Moyo said his bill fluctuated between $20 and $35 per month.
Elizabeth Khumalo of Marriage Quarters said prepaid meters should be systematically installed.
“Gwanda is the capital of Matabeleland South province and we thought Zesa would begin here, but we are lagging behind on prepaid meters. We understand that the meters have been installed in some parts of Plumtree. We need the meters also” she said.
Former Gwanda mayor Lionel De Necker said they were of the view that the programme would be rolled out by January.
“From our understanding, Zesa was meant to move in January to roll out the programme, but nothing materialised,” he said.
“We understand that only one person has the meter at his residency, but Zesa officials said they are not involved in it. Officially, Gwanda does not have prepaid meters. We were still on the old system.
“So as residents, we really call on Zesa to move in as we continue getting estimated bills.”