By Bulawayo Correspondent
RESIDENTS in Bulawayo have accused the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority’s (ZESA) of bias in its load shedding schedule with some suburbs experiencing power cuts for hours while other areas have no interruptions.
Zimbabwe is currently facing serious power outages which the Energy Minister Soda Zhemu has attributed to a surge in electricity imports from neighboring South Africa on ZESA’s network and causing power plants to collapse.
However, angry residents who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com Tuesday alleged some areas were going for up to 19 hours daily without power while others where ZESA bosses lived never experience any power cuts on most days.
Some consumers with fixed electricity meters have resorted to paying their monthly bills based on the fraction of the period they have power.
Other residents also threatened to sue the power utility for damaging their electrical gadgets due to arbitrary power cuts. The livid residents called for equitable load shedding that should be spread evenly among all suburbs.
“We will either stop paying completely or start paying for the hours which we have power. We are mobilising each other as residents to bring a collective lawsuit against ZESA for properties destroyed by power surges,” said Gilbert Ndlovu the chairperson of Mahlabezulu Residents Association.
Residents from low-density suburbs also raised similar complaints.
“I stay in Queens Park East. We are now subjected to almost daily power cuts that sometimes last for up to 15 hours. Every month I pay about US$40 electricity,” said a resident, Raphael Moyo.
Moyo claimed suburbs such as Fairbridge were not experiencing similar treatment.
“People staying in Bradfield, Fairbridge and Montrose are not being subjected to any power cuts at all. We do not want the selective power cuts because everyone is being affected,” he added.
The residents demanded a clear and transparent load shedding schedule from ZESA that would cover all areas.
“We are not against load shedding because we understand it is a national problem. All we want is for ZESA to be fair and transparent. For example, residents should exactly know when to expect cuts,” added Bright Stevenson, a Khumalo resident.
“The power cuts should last a reasonable time so that we at least get time to use the power we pay for.”
ZESA officials could not be reached for comment.