ZETDC To Disconnect Ziscosteel Over $6.2m Power Debt.
10 June 2020
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THE Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZETDC), has threatened to switch off defunct steel giant, Zisco, over a ZW$6,2 million debt accrued over a period of three months.

In a letter to Zisco that was signed by ZETDC southern region general manager, Engineer King Fazo Dube, seen by the news crew, the power utility turned down a payment plan designed by the steel company together with Redcliff Municipality and ZimChem and insists on switching off supplies.

The move could spell doom not only to Zisco but also to Redcliff residents who rely on the company for pumping water. Zisco receives water from Kwekwe, which is then distributed to other companies and residents in Redcliff using the company’s water pump.

Companies such as Steelmakers, Zimchem and ZimCoke may also be forced to halt operations due to non-availability of water.

“We cannot accept your payment plan request to pay $290 000, which does not even cover your average monthly bill of $1 300 000. As we highlighted in the meeting, we had with you, we are left with no other option but to disconnect supplies if we do not receive full payment of your account,” wrote Eng Dube.

In the same letter, ZETDC urged Zisco to engage Redcliff Municipality and ZimChem to find a way forward. Acting Zisco Board chair, Dr Gift Mugano, said he did not have finer details of the matter.

“What I can say for now is that as far as I am concerned, we were paying our bills. You should also bear in mind that we are not operating and at times we might fail to fulfill our obligations,” he said.

“But I am also aware that negotiations are ongoing between us and Redcliff and ZimChem that we have separate meters that we are billed separately. We are currently seized with the matter and I think very soon it will be solved,” said Dr Mugano.

Redcliff Town Clerk, Mr Gilson Chakauya said the move would render the entire Redcliff town dry. He requested residents to contribute towards the paying of the bill.

“I think the timing by ZETDC is not well consulted. The move will mean that the whole of Redcliff will go dry as we rely on the Ziscosteel water pump for pumping of water. And to think that we are in the middle of a fight against Covid-19 whose positive cases continue rising, I think they need to be sensitive and accept our payment plan,” said Mr Chakauya.

He said the local authority had also received the same communication from ZETDC.

“We received communication from ZETDC that electricity at the booster pump station at Zisco will be disconnected. But the monthly average bill is ZW1,3 million and the debt is now at ZW$6,2 million and the move will result in the disruption of water supply to all suburbs,” he said.

“Our average monthly water collection is around ZW$165 000, which is not sustained against our monthly bill from Kwekwe City of ZW$2,9 million. Due to low cash inflows, the outstanding bill from Kwekwe City now stands at ZW$13,5 million. A total of ZW$4,2 million is required monthly on average for both water and electricity charges,” he said.