Harare Provincial District Coordinator Tafadzwa Muguti said all council debtors should have a portion of the money they owe local authorities deducted by ZESA every time they buy electricity tokens.
Muguti said it was better for councils to engage in smart partneship with ZESA rather than wasting money by going to court and using “unscrupulous” debt collectors.
This follows revelations that Harare City Council and Chitungwiza Municipality are owed $1.9 billion and $150 million by ratepayers, respectively.
Muguti made the remarks while addressing a meeting with Chitungwiza management recently. He said:
I will be engaging ZESA, in particular ZETDC, because we now want to make bills which are owed by residents to be put on electricity bills.
That is the only way councils will be able to collect their money. When one tops up electricity, they will then pay for what is owed to local authorities.
I think this will start to help address a lot of backlogs of the money that councils are owed.
ZESA has used the model affectively since it introduced prepaid metering a few years ago.
The power utility has mananged to recover millions it was owed by its customers through deducting a certain percentage each time the defaulters tops up their electricity.
However, Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural Residents Association acting director, Brighton Kanyama, said councils have been charging residents for services they haven’t been offering, for example, water bills for non-existent water.
Kanyama argued that it will be unfair for councils to get money for services not offered using ZESA as a conduit.