The Harare Resi-dents' Trust (HRT) is increasingly finding it difficult to use engagement as a tool to assist residents experiencing unexplained load-shedding, inflated bills and inhuman power disconnect
During the period from May 28 to June 8, 2012, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) employees and officials from its subsidiary Zimbabwe Electricity Transmi-ssion and Distribution Company (ZETDC) went to various suburbs disconnecting electricity from defaulting residents.
These disconnections were conducted in the most humiliating and unprofessional manner.
The HRT has received numerous cases from residents from different suburbs seeking the organisation to facilitate engagement on payment plans and reconnections.
Residents particularly are concerned that ZESA's focus is on revenue generation than on improving their billing system, attending to residents' problems, increasing power generation capacity and adhering to their published load shedding timetables.
From reports received from our residents' committee leaders across Harare, with the highest recorded cases coming from Glen Norah, Mufakose, Highfield and Mabvuku, there is increasing concern that ZESA is inconsiderate of their poor socio-economic statuses.
According to reports received from Glen Norah, bills range from US$ 49 to US$ 12,000 indicating that some residents are being charged commercial rates, signifying that power disconnections are not the solution.
As HRT, we recommend that ZESA should speed up the process of installing pre-paid meters for accountability and transparency in its billing after canceling debts accrued from February 2009 to December 2010.
The majority of residents are defaulting out of frustration because ZESA has not been accountable given widespread estimated billing, lengthy load shedding and a poor debt management system.
Instead of using bullish tactics on cash-strapped citizens, ZESA should target the real defaulters whose debts were made public - the senior government officials. ZESA should also re-calculate residents' bills which have accumulated using a faulty billing system.