The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), connected only 2 597 prepaid metres out of the targeted 30 000 by April 2018 under the 100 days Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) due to serious foreign currency shortages.
Under the Zim-Asset blueprint, ZETDC is targeting to install 800 000 prepaid metres by 2018 and 610 000 have been connected to date.
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority spokesman Fullard Gwasira, told The Herald Business that the targets will be met as soon as the foreign currency is availed to licenced prepaid metres suppliers.
“ZETDC) remains committed to the target of connecting 30 000 prepaid electricity meters in domestic premises and small institutions countrywide as set under the Rapid Results Initiative (RRI). However, due to foreign currency constraints, ZETDC managed to connect 2 597 meters,” said Mr Gwasira.
“Sound intervention measures were taken by the Government wherein the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) licensed 17 independent suppliers of prepaid meters under the Customer Supplied Prepaid Meter Scheme to ensure that the RRI target as well as the 800 000 target of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET) is met.
“So far, ZETDC has connected 612,947 prepaid meters. The power utility surpassed a target of 564 859 prepaid meters that were set to be installed in Phase 1 of the project,” he said.
Agents under the Customer Supplied Prepaid Meters Scheme have already started selling the meters on the open market. This is expected to go a long way to ensure that more customers are connected to the national electricity grid.
Energy and Power Development Minister Simon Khaya Moyo, said Government is moving towards achieving its targets and is sourcing foreign currency to buy more prepaid metres.
“With the help from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the target was not difficult to meet,” said Minister Khaya Moyo.
ZETDC introduced prepaid metering technology to replace the conventional billing system that had been posing challenges to the power utility.
Through the prepaid metering system, the power utility has secured its revenue income stream and now can be able to complete the project.
He said in 2017, two companies, Paramount and Solutions for Africa (SFA) were awarded contracts to supply 90 000 metres and 40 000 metres respectively in 2015.
He said to date, Paramount has delivered 14 166 metres with a balance of 75 834 metres remaining while SFA delivered 20 000 metres with a balance of 20 000 metres remaining.
The connections to the houses will depend on the availability of prepaid metres, which at the moment, are in short supply due to foreign currency challenges. Foreign currency allocation from the RBZ remains a major challenge on the implementation of the prepayment metering programme.
Letters of Credit (LCs) were drafted and Afreximbank engaged RBZ to discuss the LCs. Batches of 20 363 metres from Paramount and 9 000 metres from SFA are ready to be airlifted once the RBZ approves the relevant Letters of Credit.
ZETDC will select only a few companies to minimise corruption and unlawful installation of these metres.
Regulations to manage this process will soon be promulgated through a relevant Statutory Instrument.