Scores of Byo stranded as Zesa system is overwhelmed

Chronicle Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) on Monday left scores of electricity consumers stranded failing to buy prepaid power tokens as its online system was overwhelmed by clients.

There were long queues at Zesa banking halls in Bulawayo with residents disregarding Covid-19 prevention measures such as social distancing while crowding to buy power.

Most people prefer to purchase power on the first day of the week due to misconception that electricity is cheaper at the beginning of the month.

However, electricity only becomes more expensive if a consumer buys more than 200kwh in any calendar month.

Other consumers had genuinely run out of power before the month end and had patiently waited for the new month to buy the subsidised electricity tokens.

Most consumers buy electricity using online platforms including Ecocash and financial institutions remotely but on Monday all the facilities were down, leaving citizens stranded.

Some people vented their frustrations on social media platforms, prompting a reaction from the Power and Energy Development Minister Advocate Fortune Chasi to reveal that he would engage the utility company over the matter.

“I have received many complaints from the public on Zesa payment platforms. On Thursday I will have a discussion with them on the matter,” tweeted Adv Chasi.

In a statement, ZETDC said its system was overwhelmed by the number of people buying electricity, hence the delays. 

“ZETDC advises that delays being experienced by customers are due to high volumes of token purchases during the beginning of the month and are putting pressure on the system, the position that we are in the process of addressing,” read the statement.

“ZETDC further advises customers that the lifeline tariff is enjoyed once a month when they make the first token purchase of units any day during any calendar month, therefore it is not true that electricity is cheaper when purchases are done within the first five days of the month.”

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