Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has been phasing out the old power meters and replacing them with the Cash Power prepaid meters like the one on the right. Zesa recently had our power meter changed, and we have been using this meter for almost two months now, and the benefits are numerous such as: no more inaccurate power bills, extremely improved management of your power consumption and, yes, no more strangers coming into your home monthly to get your meter readings.
These developments are all good but there’s one main problem, the payment method. What happens when for one reason or another, even with the money on them, a person is unable to go to the Zesa offices to buy more power. Say it’s the middle of the night for example. Or say the Zesa offices are closed for business. Or the many reasons that would prevent one from physically availing themselves at the Zesa offices to hand over the cash for the power.
I had to literally rush into the city this past weekend to buy more power before my power credit ran out. Luckily enough for me, Zesa is open on Saturdays and Sundays at a few branches in the city but had this not been the case, this was going to be a powerless weekend. At the offices I went to, there was a long queue reminiscent of the 2008 inflation days; I had to wait along with the other frustrated customers because only one cashier was equipped for Cash Power buying customers. During my time there I gathered that so far, the only payment method available is cash, that is one has to physically come to a Zesa office to buy their power.
This experience made me realise that all these problems could be reduced if technology was used to facilitate the payment of the power bills. The recharge process involves the customer producing their power card and the cashier crediting the account with the amount paid for. The customer then receives a recharge code that they have to enter on the cash meter device in their home.
It would be convenient if one could pay for their bill using many of mobile payments services out there and receive the recharge code via sms, email or any other communication medium the customer prefers.