Since the start of ZESA’s prepaid meter system in 2013, the power utility company has installed 575 667k prepaid meters in households and businesses across the country to date against a targeted figure of 800k by 2018 set by Government’s ZimAsset economic recovery policy.
Of the 576k units installed, 6k were reported as faulty resulting in ZESA cancelling its contract with ZTE late 2015. According to Energy and Power Development Minister Samuel Undenge, an exercise to replace the faulty units has been underway but faced challenges through a shortage of meters which should be rectified when the power utility company receives its next batch of meters,
The prepaid meter system was introduced back in 2013 as a means to end poor billing and revenue collection practices that had prejudiced the power utility company of millions.
The “smart meters” were also introduced as a debt recovery measure as customers would have a percentage of their prepaid electricity purchase deducted to service their debt with the power company. In August 2016, the power company increased its debt recovery percentage from 40% to 50% and has attempted to increase electricity tariffs but encountered heavy public scrutiny resulting in Government blocking the proposal.
ZESA has also introduced various means to buy prepaid electricity and recently integrated with mobile money platforms EcoCash, Telecash and OneWallet to bring more revenue collection options for the system.