Ellen Chasokela Herald Reporter
ZESA Holdings has embarked on a national blitz to disconnect all households illegally connected to the grid.
The operation comes after ZESA Holdings is losing millions of dollars from households using free electricity.
The Herald witnessed some of the disconnection process yesterday in Mbare and at Glen Norah A Specimen shopping centre.
The illegally connected houses have prepaid meters, but they do not recharge their meters. These meters have a fixed balance of zero because electricity is drawn straight from the main cables.
ZESA spokesperson Mr Fullard Gwasira said the company was losing a lot of money due to illegal connections.
“Our projections are that we have been losing about $10 million per quarter so for this year we have lost about $20 million through theft of electricity.
“I think what’s important is for our customers to appreciate that we have launched a nationwide campaign to try and rectify this anomaly going in all institutions and installations.
“Our system has an in-built capacity to identity those meters that are transacting or that have suspicious low consumption so we are guided, so this is the analysis that we are following through regularising.
“When customers are found wanting it’s important to emphasise that it’s a criminal offence that is punishable by a 10-year jail sentence in addition to the company recouping its money,’’ he said.
Gwasira added that it is very dangerous to by-pass electricity cables.
“Electricity cables are not something to play around with as one can get electrocuted which can cause death or cause fire’’.
A Mbare resident who refused to be named said the landlord had been demanding money every month for electricity.
“We have a welding business outside his yard so the electricity we use is drawn from his house. He demands money monthly threatening to disconnect us if we fail to pay him yet he does not pay anything to ZESA.
“It’s unfair how he harasses us for payments yet the electricity is free of charge.
“Now the authorities has disconnected the household from electricity and we cannot continue with our business and we do not know for how long till he sorts out his mess and get reconnected ,’’he said.