With load shedding seeming like its back again, we would want to be in the know when our respective areas are going to be affected. But with the declining affinity towards newspapers, which ZESA preferably uses to communicate load shedding schedules, many people won’t be in the know about the schedule.
As we all know, mobile phones are ruling our digital world, so mobile-focused information dissemination is ideal. ZESA has now decided to improve service delivery through improved communication by sending you text messages informing you about “power supply situations”. And it’s only possible to send the text messages if it establishes what it’s calling a “Bulk Short Message Service” (BSMS) database facility. The BSMS facility will house information such as your, name city and suburb, your phone number etc. The advantage of SMSs is that you always have your phone so you get notices from ZESA anywhere in Zimbabwe.
Not only will the database be used for communicating about the power supply situation but also about “theft and vandalism and safe use of electricity and other related matters”. In its notice ZESA said;
The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission And Distribution Company (ZETDC) is in the process of establishing a Bulk Short Message service (BSMS) facility as part of its continued efforts to improve communication and service delivery to its valued customers…..ZETDC is requesting for customer details to enrich its database and is encouraging customers to furnish their contact details in the format as guided below, for the utility to be in a position to constantly communicate information on the power supply situation, theft, and vandalism, safe use of electricity and other related matters.
In this digital age, there is always that fear the information we provide to ZESA or any other organization or institution might be abused by someone with ulterior motives. If we start to talk about abusing databases, I’m easily reminded about the Bulk SMS scandal that happened during the election period. Zanu-PF, Econet, POTRAZ, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission were all accused of illegally using the phone number database. On the other side of the Atlantic ocean, the post-election environment of America has also seen the Cambridge Analytica scandal taking center stage because of the misuse of Facebook databases to sway voters. It shows you how much people are valuing their information these days.
Usually, when the privacy of information is talked about, people fear that governments may misuse databases in the form of snooping on citizens and conniving. Since ZESA is state-owned, the chances of the government to access our information on the BSMS is quite high, right? Being mindful of this “election episode”, don’t you think that some people will be fearful to give ZESA their information in the expectation that they will be flooded with political messages? ZESA seem to be aware of people’s fear to share their information that’s why it’s saying;
ZETDC further assures its valued customers that the information that is collected would only be used for the aforementioned reasons and SHALL NOT be disclosed to anyone in the interest of confidentiality. Your valued cooperation and assistance in making this noble exercises a success would be greatly appreciated.
The details needed and where to send them
If you want to receive timely information from Zesa, you can send your details to firstname.lastname@example.org
NB. Your details should include;
- Cell Number
- Meter or Account Number
- Email address