The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority has cut off electric power to thousands of residents of cities and towns across the country leaving even the Bulawayo City Council in total darkness over an unpaid US$9.2 million electricity bill.
Residents and officials said the utility is disconnecting customers on a massive scale for nonpayment of 2009 estimated bills that ZESA was supposed to have written off.
The Competitions, Pricing and Tariffs Commission recommended ZESA write off the bills following objections by consumers nationwide to the outsized demands.
Bulawayo Residents Association Chairman Winos Dube said some bills from 2009 are as high as US$600 per household and most residents are not paying them. Most residents earn no more than US$225 a month so meeting such bills is highly problematic.
Dube said the government should order the state-controlled utility to nullify the bills.
“We have already started engaging ZESA on these issues and we hope that government will take urgent measures to avert a crisis," Dube said.
Harare Residents Association officer Beatrice Ngwenya said ZESA is causing havoc among consumers in the capital.
Bulawayo Mayor Thaba Patrick Moyo said his city council has been left in darkness over a huge bill that the authority is struggling to pay.
“The utility has asked us to pay at least US$4 million before reconnecting power to our critical entities including the Bulawayo City Hall and Revenue Hall," he said.