ZESA Holdings is in the process of disconnecting defaulting customers in some parts of Bulawayo’s Pumula high-density suburb.
Zesa southern regional manager Lovemore Chinaka said they would not halt disconnecting defaulting residents as some were reluctant to pay their bills.
“Numerous defaulters were buying time in order not to settle their entire debts, some of which run into thousands of dollars. There is no way we cannot make follow-ups because people are not paying their debts despite the debt relief that they received,” said Chinaka.
“People have become reluctant to pay their debts and the only way we can push them is by cutting electricity supply and we will not stop until they pay up.”
He said people were failing to service their bills because they left them to accumulate to unreasonable figures making them difficult to settle.
When a Southern Eye crew visited Pumula suburb yesterday, Zesa vehicles were driving around the area and stopping at some houses where workers were seen disconnecting power.
However, affected residents said Zesa was being inconsiderate as it was unwilling to negotiate payment plans.
“Zesa is very selfish because it is not willing to negotiate with its customers. There is no way an individual would fail to pay a debt deliberately. We are not paying simply because we do not have the money to pay,” said a Pumula resident Nokwanda Ndlovu whose power was disconnected four days ago.
Another affected resident Phineas Ndiweni said Zesa should treat customers that default once differently from those that have gone for a long time without paying.
“Zesa has every right to cut off supplies to defaulters, but it must be lenient with those who are first-time defaulters because it cannot compare someone who owes only $40 to someone who owes $900. There must be special treatment for such people because it merely shows that they genuinely do not have the money for that one month,” said Ndiweni.
Other residents said Zesa must install cash power meters for them since they were struggling to pay the power bills.
“Zesa must install cash power in this area as we are failing to pay the bills. With cash power, we will be able to work with the amount of electricity that we have and also it will enable us to be more cautious when using electricity. For now Zesa must just be patient with us as we genuinely do not have money to pay off the debts,” said Melody Chiuke.