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Bulawayo City and Zimbabwe Utility Deadlock Over Disputed Power Bill

Bulawayo City Council asked the central government to mediate but talks are said to have collapsed with the city saying it can only pay US$600,000 a month not the US$4 million demanded by the electric utility

Bulawayo City Council remains without electric power to its offices following its cutoff by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority which is demanding the country's second largest city pay at least US$4 million on what it says is a delinquent bill of more than US$9 million.

Bulawayo officials have asked the central government to mediate, but talks are said to have collapsed. The city says it can only afford to pay US$600 000 a month.

In the meantime Bulawayo City Hall is running on power from a generator.

Bulawayo Mayor Thaba Patrick Moyo said his council is engaging Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Energy Minister Elton Mangoma in a bid to settle the matter.

Moyo said the council has asked the ministers to pay the city US$9 million it says it is owed in unpaid charges for water and services so it can pay off its electric bill.

“We have done this because we cannot pay US$4 million which is being demanded by ZESA as a down payment before they reconnect power to our vital institutions,” he said.