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Megawatt Bulletin (5)

Megawatt Bulletin

The Ministry of Energy and Power Development has successfully launched the prepaid metering technology that is replacing the conventional billing system that had been posing challenges to the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a subsidiary of ZESA Holdings. ZETDC has already installed 19 000 prepaid meters countrywide, with a further 19 000 expected to be installed by end of September 2012. The whole installation programme with be completed in ten months.

The following frequently asked answer consumer queries and concerns:

Q1. Is conversion from post paid to prepaid optional or compulsory?

A. It is compulsory, ZETDC has made a decision to change metering technology and all

meters in the domestic and small  institutions will be converted to prepaid.

Q2. What are  customers expected to do with the outstanding bills for electricity consumed

during the time they were on post paid metering after conversion to prepaid metering

  1. There are two options, either they clear the outstanding bill before conversion or their debt  is

transferred to the prepayment account.

The other option is that the previous debt will be transferred to the prepayment meter. The arrears collection facility in the system allows the customer to settle his/her debt. Each time the customer purchases power, 20% of their purchase account is automatically deducted until the debt is  cleared.

Q3. Where can credit for prepaid meters be purchased?

A. Currently credit vending points are in selected ZETDC offices in Harare and Bulawayo. Plans are  underway to appoint third party vending platforms. When the system is eventually rolled  out throughout the country, customers will be able to purchase electricity tokens from supermarkets, petrol service stations, banks etc in the same manner they buy their cellular phone airtime.

Q4. Is conversion to prepaid a solution to the problem of long queues that we

normally encounter when paying bills?

  1. Yes, the introduction of multiple distribution channels (third party vending) will definitely resolve the problem of long queues. Customers will have the freedom to purchase their electricity tokens from other approved third party vendors, thereby decongesting ZETDC banking halls.

Q5. Currently some of the meters are installed outside the house. Are there plans to move theses meters inside houses or customers will be expected to go out to load credit or check balance in the meter?

  1. The meters being installed are split PLC meters with a Customer Interface Unit (CIU), which the customers will use to load credit and check credit balances. The CIU is plugged on a socket outlet inside the house.

Q6. Is there any easy guide for prepaid meters to assist customers understand the prepaid meter?

  1. Yes, every customer will get an easy guide after installation of a prepayment meter. The easy guide is simplified but if there are challenges, customers are advised to contact their nearest ZETDC Customer Service Center.

Q7. What are the advantages of prepayment meters over post paid meters?

Prepaid metering is the best option since you pay for the units you need. You don't have to worry about re-connection fees like in the case of the post paid meters. You just need to top up and you are done. Customers do not also have to worry about the issue of bills and meter reading every month and above all, they will have freedom to manage their consumption and amount spent every month. With post paid systems, customers do experience cash-flow problems, especially where the use of payment cycle of billed systems was averaging more than 30 days. Prepayment manages the customer’s consumption as it provides automatic credit control.

Q8. Are prepayments meters going to be installed throughout the country, if that is the case where do customers in areas where there are no ZETDC offices such as rural areas and farms purchase credit?

The pre-payment metering project is nationwide in scope and very soon it will cover the breadth of the entire country. Currently, the system is being deployed in Harare and Bulawayo. Other areas that will soon be coming on stream are Chitungwiza ,Gweru, Marondera, Kwekwe, Mutare, Masvingo, Chinhoyi, Bindura and Kadoma due to their proximity to compatible communication systems. When the system is fully operational, third party vending platforms will be deployed to rural businesses and growth points for the benefit of rural customers

Q9. . Is there any set limit for purchase of electricity credit for prepaid meters?

A. The minimum denominations for purchase of tokens have been set at $5 but customers can purchase as many tokens as they want.

Q10. . Is there any set limit on the amount of credit the meter can accept?

There is no upper limit on the amount of electricity one can purchase

Q11. How can I get a prepayment meter?

  1. ZETDC is currently in the process of installing prepaid meters to all domestic and small business enetities. The project is scheduled to be completed within 10months. ZETDC will also be distributing notifications fliers to customers to announce the imminence of the project within customers’ neighourhood.

Q12. What happens if the price of power from ZETDC changes?

A. The cost of a unit (kWh) of electricity will be purchased at the prevailing rate but

tokens already purchased will not be affected by the change in tariffs.

Q13. Can I get my money back out of my meter account?

  1. No, It is the customers' responsibility to manage the balance in the meter. If customers know they will be moving out soon, they should buy enough credit to last them until the expiry of their change of tenancy.

Q14. What should I do if I lose the credit token before entering credit into meter?

  1. Report to your nearest ZETDC Customer Service Centre and get a duplicate token. There will be a nominal fee for the production of a duplicate token.

Q15. Who is responsible for the replacement of damaged Customer Interface Unit (CIU)?

  1. A. Replacement of CIU is the customer's responsibility. The CIU would be replaced at nominal cost of $60.

Q16. How accurate are the prepaid meters compared to post paid meters?

  1. The prepaid meters are very accurate and in any case, it is mandatory that all meters are tested before installation.

Q17. Will I still be getting a bill when I have a prepayment meter?

A. The moment we install prepaid meters, customers will receive a final bill and thereafter no bills will be sent to the customer.

Q18. Should I change my lease agreement if I put in a pre-paid meter?

A. We suggest that you do and recommend that you put in the relevant clauses pertaining to the supply and consumption of  electricity (Consult ZETDC for advice).

Q19. In the case of a shared meter with more than one family sharing the same meter, what is the recommended practice when converted to prepaid metering.

  1. If the wiring is separable, it is recommended that customers apply for separation of meters from ZETDC. In such cases where wiring is inseparable, customers have to agree on the best way to administer expenses incurred through prepayment metering system.

Q20. What happens if I go away and I run out of credit?

  1. We suggest that if you are going away, you should make sure that you have recharged your meter with enough credit to last that duration of the time you are going away. For longer periods,  it is essential that you turn off and unplug appliances, thus minimising any usage. You will still need to ensure that you have sufficient credit to keep your meter going for anything that you can’t turn off, for example alarm, gate, and pool.

Q21. Will we continue to be load shed after conversion to prepayment metering?

A. Load shedding is done when demand exceeds supply and if the supply situation has not improved, customers will continue to experience load shedding even after conversion to prepaid. However, prepayment metering will reduce the frequency of load shedding due to the following reasons:

- With prepaid meters, customers will manage their demand and consumption closely

thereby reducing the total demand imposed on  the ZETDC system.

-  Prepaid metering will improve cash flow for ZETDC and enable it to pay for power purchases

- With prepaid meters all customers will consume what they have paid for

Tuesday, 18 December 2012 07:57
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Since 2007, the country experienced load shedding as a result of the shortage of capacity in the country. What exactly is load shedding?

Load shedding simply stated is a controlled temporary way of cutting power to parts of the country when there is not enough electricity to meet the needs of customers. This is as a result of a shortage of capacity and a high demand for electricity.

In the past, and when ZESA had excess capacity, we would have comfortably gone through maintenance, unplanned outages, load losses, and an increase in demand without affecting customers. Given the current capacity shortage ZESA was forced to introduce load shedding.

ZESA's business is one of supply and demand. When you need electricity - to switch on a light, cook, send a fax, print a document, or watch television, ZESA has to supply the power to meet that demand. ZESA's system controllers on a daily basis, - 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year - have to balance this supply and demand.

On a typical work day, demand starts increasing from two o’ clock in the morning, climbing steadily as people wake up, get ready for work, open shops, factories and offices. Between seven and ten o’ clock, the system experiences its morning peak load. The load then eases off until the evening peak. Demand starts to increase from about four o’ clock when people return home and switch on televisions and stoves. Between six and nine o’ clock, the system experiences its evening peak load.

Any problem on the system such as a breakdown at a power generation station or on a transmission line, can impact the supply to customers.. When this happens, the system is unable to meet the demand of customers. ZESA system controllers under these conditions have no choice but to implement load shedding as a last resort.

Load shedding is done on a rotational basis nation-wide at ZESA's request. ZESA customers being load shed will experience a power failure for not more than 5 hours.

Customers can obtain load shedding schedules on the ZESA website www.zesa.co.zw or by contacting their nearest customer’s service centers for more information.

The Zimbabwean power system will remain vulnerable for the next five to eight years given the shortage of capacity to generate more electricity.This is a national challenge that requires all of us to contribute towards a solution.

Together we have the power to save.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012 12:40
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The idea and principle behind the conserving of energy is that it is better to INFORM the public about the state of the network and ASK them to do something to help, than it is for everyone to experience rolling load shedding of long periods.

When you stop to think about it, it is logical that power usage peaks between 5 and 8 pm when people get home and cook, bath, shower, etc. and again between roughly 6 and 10 in the morning.
The problem is that most people do NOT necessarily think about this – they believe power usage is highest when everyone is at work and all the machines, factories, etc. are running.
We only ask for the stoves and appliances to be off when there is a real danger of power outages . The thinking is that it would be better to eat a little bit later (but still have power) than to try to stick to your normal schedule and not have any power at all – possibly for a few hours.
The main idea is actually to get people to refrain from using appliances like the dishwasher, washing machine, pool pump, etc during these times.
Since the majority of the population do not have any of these appliances but do have stoves, heaters and TV sets, we ask that they manage what they have.
Electricity and the supply thereof is a scarce resource and to extend the supply capacity is extremely expensive. Careless usage also has a DRAMATIC impact on the environment.
We all know that this is not the ideal situation but given the options, this - i.e. saving power when the network is under strain seemed to be the best way to help avoid load shedding until new generators can be constructed – either by ZESA or somebody else (a process that takes up to 7 years).
Please help by doing your bit - if every person switches off only one light, the impact is dramatic and can help avoid load shedding.
Save energy…Kill a watt
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 12:38
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If you are wondering if you really make an impact - consider this.

Nothing connects all of us together like the electricity network. Electricity cannot be effectively stored in large quantities. This means that when you turn on a light, that power needs to be generated immediately by a generator somewhere on the network. If there is not enough generation available, that power will be taken from someone else through load shedding - and that someone, at some stage would be you. If you use more than you really need during peak periods and periods when load shedding is taking place, you are actively promoting load shedding.

People often ask why large industries are not switched off rather than asking small users like you and me to turn things off - surely this would be much simpler? (Just for the record, large industries ARE also turned off)

Surprisingly (to many people) ZESA experiences its largest usage of electricity in the mornings when everyone wakes up, showers, shaves, cooks, etc. and again in the evenings when the same thing happens. Many people wrongly believe that most power is used during the day when everyone is at work and "all the machines are running" - this is not the case. All of these "small little homes" everywhere has a much larger daily impact on the network than the large industries and mines. These large consumers utilize electricity at a more or less constant rate - this means that the load profile (the shape of the energy consumption pattern) of these users is close to a flat line.

In contrast to that, the residential load profile is highly variable and unfortunately everyone uses power at roughly the same time in their homes. This causes peak loads on the network that are very difficult to handle.
Every light that is burning unnecessarily puts strain on the network, not only that but to supply that light bulb with power, the power stations need to burn coal, which contributes to pollution and global climate change.

Any load that is on during these peak times rather than at a different time contributes to the problem. Using your washing machine, dishwasher, pool pump, etc. during peak times enlarges the problem and contributes to the likelihood of, or prolonging of load shedding.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012 12:35
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When originally installed a wiring system is suitably designed for its intended purpose and each circuit is safeguarded against the effects of overload, short-circuits and fault currents by protective devices of the correct current rating and breaking capacity.  In this regard, the wiring regulations are explicit that every circuit shall be so designed that a small overload of long duration is unlikely to occur.

However, even in well designed installations circuit faults do develop, the causes of which are not always immediately apparent.  However, quite often the fault is brought about by deliberate misuse of the circuit, or by tampering with the protective device in order to connect a larger load than design specification permits.  This practice is extremely dangerous and can lead to a conflagration and/or death by the inhalation of toxic fumes. Each year a number of fatal accidents occur due to the use of electricity, and many more are badly injured. To keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe, here are some precautions to follow around electricity:

A repeatedly blowing fuse or tripping MCB is a sign that there is something wrong with that particular circuit.  Such a fault should be isolated until a qualified electrician takes remedial action.

  • Never bridge-out MCB’s or 13A fuses by using silver paper or tin foil, it is extremely dangerous.  All such devices are there for protection of the wiring, your property and ultimately yourself.
  • Never ignore the warning signs.  If a plug-top feels excessively hot or if the socket-outlet is discoloured then the appliance being used is too large an electrical load or there are loose connections.
  • Never take portable electrical equipment into a bathroom.
  • Never cover flexible cables and cords under carpets.  The conductor temperature does not dissipate as it should, overheating occurs and a conflagration can result.
  • Keep flexible cables and cords as short as possible and well maintained.  Do not use taped joints rather buy a new lead as this could save money in the long run.
  • Where the flex enters the plug-top ensure that the sheath is properly and securely clamped, inner cores should not be showing, and ensure that the right coloured core terminates in its correct terminal i.e.

    • Brown-‘L’ (LIVE)
    • Blue-‘N’ (NEUTRAL)
    • Green/Yellow-‘E’ (EARTH)
  • It is recommended to purchase appliances that bear a standard mark or number that has been approved by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ).  Have foreign standards verified by SAZ.
  • Unless double insulated all appliances will need to be effectively connected to earth either permanently or by a flexible cord/cable.  If you are not sure that this is the case, consult a competent Electrician. The earthing system at your premises is of paramount importance and to ensure that it remains completely reliable it should be inspected by you at regular intervals particularly if a plumbing repair job has been carried out.  All pipe-work and exposed metal work should be bonded to the installation’s earth electrode. A maximum earth resistance of ohms is recommended.
  • A socket-outlet(s) installed for use with outdoor appliances such as a lawn mower should be electrically supplied by a 30milli Amp (0.03 Ampere) sensitive earth leakage protective device.
  • Never leave young children unsupervised in a room containing an appliance that is energized.  Natural curiosity leads them to playing with such items and possibly inserting spoons, forks, etc into accessible openings.  So switch off and unplug or supervise the child.
  • Never fill or top-up an electric kettle while it is plugged in.
  • Never fill a steam iron while it is plugged in (besides which only distilled water should be used).
  • Ensure that the element of your appliance is completely immersed in the water.
  • Never leave an energised iron lying flat on its face.
  • Never leave an appliance switched on and un-attended for any prolonged length of time, accidents do happen and a fire can result.  This applies to every household appliance.  It is only the time scale that differs.
  • Do not wipe appliances down with a damp cloth; electrical components and water are not compatible.
  • Do not wipe or clean electrical switches or socket outlets with a damp cloth, you could be electrocuted.
  • Replace all broken switches or switch covers.
  • Never replace a lamp (globe) while switched on.
  • To lessen the risk of fires and electrocution, Always get the wiring of your house checked periodically, e.g. after every five years.

To reduce the risk of electrocution, always treat all ZESA cables as LIVE, especially during load shedding as power can be restored without warning. All dangling wires should be avoided and reported to the nearest ZESA Fault Centre as they can pose a serious hazard to both humans and livestock.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012 12:27
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Do you have energy saver bulbs in your house?

Yes - 76.9%
NO - 23.1%
What is an energy saver bulb? - 0%

Total votes: 26
The voting for this poll has ended on: 13 Jan 2013 - 10:21

Load Shedding Status



Power Generation Stats

Gen Station

27 September 2017


506 MW

Kariba 716 MW

   0 MW

Munyati 16 MW

12 MW

Imports   0-450 MW


1580 MW

Comparative Average Tariffs

  • Global Tariffs
Click here
  • Regional Tariffs

US14c kWh

  • Zimbabwe Tarriffs

US9.83c kWh

Contact Details

+263 4 773302/04-10,
+263 4 773314/16/18/19/24/28-31/34,
+263 4 774491/96/98-9

Fax:+263 4 774542/3
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Address:     Electricity Centre
                       25 Samora Machel Ave

ZESA HOLDINGS Private Limited © 2013

Developed By Total IT Solutions Zimbabwe


Load Shedding Status



Power Generation Stats

Gen Station

27 September 2017


506 MW

Kariba 716 MW

   0 MW

Munyati 16 MW

12 MW

Imports   0-450 MW


1580 MW


Major Power Faults










ZESA Holdings would like to advise its valued customers countrywide of the reduction in generation at Kariba Power Station due to depleted dam water levels, commencing on Tuesday 1st September 2015 at 1800hrs, in compliance with the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) requirement to scale down on water consumption.


Generation will consequently be reduced from the normal 750MW to 475MW until dam levels have risen to the requisite levels.


During this period, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) will take full advantage of the reduction of Units in service at Kariba to undertake the annual statutory maintenance, scheduled to be conducted between the 1st of September 2015 and 28 January 2016.


Whilst generation at thermal power stations is not affected by hydrological issues, Units at Hwange Power Station will also undergo statutory maintenance which will be completed by 7 October 2015, to ensure greater safety and reliability going forward.


The power utility further advises customers that the planned annual maintenance of Hwange and the reduction in water levels at Kariba dam will lead to changes being effected to the previously publicized load shedding schedule.


Consumers will experience suppressed power supplies until generation is brought back to normal levels.


Although the effects of load shedding will be minimized with possible power imports where available, ZESA Holdings urges consumers to use the available power very sparingly to minimize the extent and duration of load shedding.


ZESA Holdings sincerely apologises for the unavoidable inconvenience caused.