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“We are subsidising the power utility” – Hillcrest residents

By Cecilia Ngoma for We The Future

“Sometimes it’s not all of us who can afford everything,” complains Miss Dube one of the Hillcrest residents.

Miss Dube says they have been paying for electrical cables every time they are stolen. She says struggling families are failing to cope as they cannot afford to subsidise the power utility.

She says some families are child-headed and incurring such costs that are meant to be shouldered by the power utility makes the situation worse.

“I remember we spent two weeks without electricity because the cables were stolen and we had to pay US$35 per household for them to replace cables,” says Miss Dube.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is facing a challenge of cable thefts in some parts of the country as the copper materials are lucrative for those who are in the scrap metals business. Most of the cables are stolen and sent to South Africa where there is a ready market.

The power utility resorts to passing its risk to clients by asking them to replace the stolen cables or risk spending months without electricity.

Residents like Miss Dube say they are already struggling to purchase power and the additional cost of replacing the power utility’s machinery is a burden that must not be carried by the client.

She says ZESA promises to reimburse them by giving electricity units that are equivalent to their contributions but that never happens.

This article was produced under CITE’s We The Future project. The We The Future project seeks to increase the participation of young women in local and national governance processes through capacity building on digital skills.  

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