Slow installation of pre-paid meters by Zesco angers consumers

ZESCO’s continued delays in responding to applications for pre-paid meters have riled members of the public who have accused the power utility company of fueling illegal connections.

Some customers have complained that the compound use of prepaid meters was because the company was taking too long to respond to the many applications for the installation of the gadgets to extended structures.

Mr Justine Mutyau of Linda Compound in Lusaka complained that the meter in his house has not been working properly during peak hours and forcing the household to abandon the use of the stove and other heating devices.

Mr Mutyau said problems were common among other houses with one prepaid meter but lighting several families units.

“We are in two semi-detached houses and we use one prepaid meter with my landlord, and we experience intermittent power failure every time its peak hour so much that we have just stopped using the stove.

“And now even the fridge has switched off, it is not working because of the same thing,” he said.

He explained that the problem had been going on for some time and wondered how he could approach the power utility company when many other people had similar problems about the prepaid meters.

Mr Mutyau was speaking during the Millennium Radio ‘I Heard’ phone in programme where he complained that household goods have been destroyed due to the irregular power supply to the house.

And another customer Mr Charles Musonda of Garden Compound complained that his application for meter separation has not been attended to for over eight months.

Mr Musonda said that despite several visits to follow-up the application with ZESCO Head Office, there has not been any progress in the installation of the second meter.

“It is not that we want to be involved in illegal acts, it is the company (ZESCO) that is pushing people into illegalities, they take too long to work on applications whether it is lack of materials, we do not know,” he said.

He explained that some customers like him have tried to follow the laid down procedures in connecting structures to the power grid, but that the lack of quick response from ZESCO have forced them to use alternative means to connect to the system.

There have been concerns over the poor performance of the ZESCO customer service unit especially in response to the pre-meter malfunctioning as the company took too long in responding to customer complaints.