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Bulawayo to spend US$10 000 per month to keep tower lights on

by Staff reporter
23 Jun 2024 at 05:33hrs | Views
The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is facing a monthly expense of approximately US$10,000 to purchase electricity tokens for tower lights in the city, following their transition to a prepaid system by the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC). This move, initiated by ZETDC as part of a national metering transition, led to initial disconnections of the tower lights due to unpaid bills, prompting negotiations between BCC and ZETDC for their reconnection.

According to Mrs. Nesisa Mpofu, BCC's corporate communications manager, the council has procured electricity tokens at a cost of ZW$1,500 per tower light for the month of June. This translates to a total monthly expenditure of ZW$135,000 for 90 tower lights, equivalent to approximately US$10,000 based on the official exchange rate.

Mrs. Mpofu emphasized that while BCC is exploring alternative energy sources such as solar power for their tower lights, such initiatives require substantial upfront investments and ongoing expenses.

ZETDC clarified that the transition to prepaid metering for tower lights is part of a broader national project initiated in 2012 to migrate all customers to prepaid systems. Over 93% of postpaid customers have already been migrated, with the final phase aimed for completion by June 2024.

This situation echoes past disputes between BCC and ZETDC over electricity payments, recalling previous instances where ZETDC disconnected power at BCC facilities due to unpaid bills, leading to prolonged use of diesel generators.

Moreover, BCC has raised claims that ZETDC owes them over US$60 million in royalties for the use of Bulawayo Power Station, resulting in a longstanding legal dispute between the two entities.

In conclusion, BCC's current expenditure underscores ongoing financial challenges related to utility payments, while efforts to explore sustainable energy solutions remain ongoing amid significant financial constraints.

Source - The Sunday News