Thandeka Matebesi, Sunday News Reporter
POWER utility company Zesa, says more than 25 000 consumers have regularised their pre-paid meters after the company called for those who were by-passing and tempering with the meters to come forward.
In June, Zesa issued a warning, calling people to regularise their pre-paid meters after it discovered that a number of them were bypassing the meter and using electricity for free.
Zesa spokesperson Mr Fullard Gwasira said the power utility was pleased with the response received from consumers.
“In June this year we issued a warning to those who had not regularised their electricity meters to do so before 31 August 2018 and the response is commendable as we had over 25 000 consumers who regularised their meters during the grace period,” said Mr Gwasira.
He said that the grace period was over but the company would continue to identify those meters that have been tampered with and anyone found guilty of bypassing and tampering with electricity meters will be handed over to the police.
“The grace period has since expired but the operation is still on as we continue to identify any suspicious points in our system. Now, anyone who is found to be on the wrong side of the law will be handed over to the police,” said Mr Gwasira.
He added: “We wish to advise our customers that bypassing and tampering with electricity meters is an offence that carries a mandatory 10-year jail sentence.”
Mr Gwasira said the company has an inbuilt mechanism to identify meters that have been affected bypassing and tampering.
“The pre-paid meter system has business intelligence, which automatically registers when a new meter is installed at a premise, to identify suspicious points of consumers that are not buying electricity, have low purchases or have no purchases at all,” he said.
He also said Zesa was aware of consumption patterns and history especially in new suburbs which makes it easier for the power utility to identify any anomalies in transactions.
Meanwhile, Zesa has added more vending outlets countrywide to ensure greater convenience in the purchase of electricity tokens. In a statement, Zesa said the move to increase vending outlets was temporal and that the company was working on a lasting solution to ease challenges of electricity vending system.