THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) has licensed 17 private companies to sell pre-paid electricity meters to consumers under a customer supplied meter scheme, The Financial Gazette has learnt.
The development comes after the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a subsidiary of ZESA Holdings, resolved to allow private companies to procure and distribute pre-paid meters after failing to meet demand due to critical shortages of foreign currency.
ZERA chief executive officer, Gloria Magombo, this week revealed that those that obtained licenses were Easttown (Pvt) Limited, Finmark Industries, Mining and Industrial Suppliers Solutions for Africa (Pvt) Limited, ZB Capital, Altimate Communications, Engineering World, Fueltec Zimbabwe, G. Telecoms, Helcraw Electrical, Heliflex Investments, Paramount Cables, Sidal Engineering, Solarhart Zimbabwe, The Battery Centre, Speedfire (Pvt) Limited and Carleon Trading.
“…Agents were registered to source prepayment meters from pre-qualified worldwide meter manufacturers and sell to the public directly or via distributors in terms of the Electricity Act (Chapter 13:19),” Magombo told The Financial Gazette.
“ZETDC will soon undertake a sensitisation exercise giving guidelines on the process from meter purchases to final connection by the approved installers,” she added.
Since 2013, ZETDC, procured and installed about 580 000 gadgets to households and businesses to replace the conventional billing system as the power utility tries to improve revenue collection.
ZETDC is targeting to install about
800 000 pre-paid meters by the end of the year.
The pre-paid meters were introduced as a debt recovery measure. Customers who owed ZESA would have a percentage of their prepaid electricity purchase deducted to service their debt with the power utility.
Meanwhile, ZETDC has engaged five independent prepaid meter installers, selected from 24 bidders, to expedite the installation of 14 261 prepaid meters.
“The installers who made the grade out of 24 bidders are Wall Greens, Patrid, Range Grove Sales, Kelldata and Simrose,” ZETDC said.
“The installers have been demarcated into specific areas of operation and are guided by the regions of ZETDC to expedite the process to eventually make the customers switch on the lights with pomp and fanfare, a huge relief to them, as the power utility extends its service to more customers,” the power utility added.
Patrid and Range Grove Sales will install meters in the western region where 38 200 pre-paid meters would be installed at all outstanding points.
Kelldata and Simrose will install 8 464 prepaid meters in the Harare region, while Wall Greens has been tasked to service customers in Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, southern region, Masvingo, Manicaland and northern region.