Some Luveve suburb residents in Bulawayo have gone for a month without electricity due to theft of copper cables.
Bulawayo has of late witnessed an increase in theft of copper cables which has resulted in sections of some suburbs going for months without power.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (Bupra) Luveve chairperson, Mr Ndaba Ngoma, said they reported the theft of copper cables in their area to the power utility but no action has been taken.
He said residents that had no power had resorted to using gas or firewood which is very expensive.
“More than 30 houses have been without electricity for more than a month and we have reported this to Zesa who are yet to address the problem,” said Mr Ngoma.
A resident who lives in the affected section, Mrs Elfina Ncube (68) said she has been forced to use firewood which she gets from a nearby bush.
“We are appealing to Zesa fix this problem. I sometimes buy firewood but it doesn’t last so I am forced to go to the bush to fetch the firewood,” she said.
Responding to Chronicle, the ZETDC stakeholder relations department said they received the report and went to the affected section where they noticed that copper conductors had been vandalised.
“We are aware of the vandalism of copper conductors which happened at one of the sections of Old Luveve and we are working hard to make sure that power is restored. It’s not only them that have been affected by this vandalim but many residents in the city,” said the stakeholder relations department.
It said the power utility has introduced toll free telephone lines to enable people to report incidents of theft and vandalism of infrastructure, illegal power connections, corruption as well as any other unethical behaviour by Zesa employees and members of the public.
“The public will not incur any costs in the usage of the toll-free telephone lines to volunteer information (tip-off without disclosure of identities of sources) that will lead to the preservation of the integrity of the product and service delivery of the power utility,” reads the statement.
It however, said some power outages that are being experienced by consumers are a result of water which seeps into underground cables since the rain season has started.
It encouraged people to contact their nearest Customer Service Centres for assistance and not attempt to repair electrical faults on their own as that would lead to electrocution.
“During this rain season, we have a challenge of water damaging underground cables, trees falling on overhead transmission lines as well as lightning striking electricity infrastructure. Such rain-induced outages are normally mistaken for load shedding or inefficiency on the part of the power utility.
We would like to encourage consumers to contact their nearest Customer Service Centre for assistance,” said the stakeholder.