The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has said it is not obliged to pay the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) for power used at premises that were recently disconnected from power since it no longer owns the premises.
ZETDC, a subsidiary of Zesa Holdings, recently disconnected several properties located in Hwange’s Ngumija high-density suburb, accusing NRZ of failing to pay for their power supplies.
However, NRZ spokesperson Nyasha Maravanyika Friday said the company was not obliged to pay anything to Zesa since it no longer owns the properties in question. Maravanyika said:
_Those houses were sold to the tenants, so NRZ has no obligation to pay bills for them._
_The only problem is that those people after buying the houses did not install new electricity meters and ZETDC has continued to direct bills to NRZ._
_Our teams will be going down there to clarify issues so that ZETDC ensures the change of meters and directs the bills to those people._
A resident who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity admitted that some of the houses were sold to them by the NRZ. The resident said:
_The houses were sold. There are 134 stands and 125 were sold. They are privately owned. We even used to pay even for water but people started refusing to pay because they were not getting water._
Another resident shed more light on payment modalities. Said the resident:
_After we bought the houses, we had an agreement with NRZ in which they would keep paying electricity bills and we would pay to them. There has not been a formal handover to ZETDC. They still charge us. We pay at the goods office and we have receipts from them. The same day they disconnected they were making monthly meter readings and when the electricity went they were at my place._
Most residents at the properties are former NRZ workers.
ZESA is owed millions of United States dollars chief culprits being many government departments and elites who are reportedly hard to approach.
This is happening when the power utility is in desperate need of money for the production of power as it is currently failing to meet local demand.