Zesa imports 11 000 faulty meters


Harare Bureau
More than 11 000 prepaid meters imported by Zesa were faulty as it emerged that the power utility failed to send inspectors to certify the gadgets during the manufacturing stage before their shipment, an audit has revealed.

The audit said there was no evidence that Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company had used results of a pilot project conducted at a cost of $1,5 million.

It also emerged that the firm accepted a wrong consignment of meters destined for South Africa, a situation that inconvenienced customers and caused reputational damage to the power utility.

The anomalies are contained in a 2017 audit report prepared by Auditor General, Mrs Mildred Chiri on management of prepayment and smart metering project by the ZETDC.

It was also noted that the ZETDC diverted from project scope requiring replacement of all old conventional meters with prepaid and smart meters as it was now concentrating on new customers.

“Information on faulty meter statistics gathered from all regions indicated that the total number of prepaid meters deployed was 502 858 and at the time of audit on May 20 2016 the failed meter quantity stood at 10 426, which was well above the acceptable failure quantity of 1 508. According to project management, all prepaid meter types supplied by contractors had exhibited a high failure rate above 1 percent instead of 0,3 which was the acceptable failure rate,” said Mrs Chiri.

According to the audit, ZETDC did not inspect 68 172 installed points across all regions except the Southern region.

“Despite these points not having been inspected the ZETDC went on to process payments to contractors without ensuring that the job had been properly done,” said Mrs Chiri in her report.

Mrs Chiri noted that there was no financial gain from resources deployed in the initial pilot study as the ZETDC incurred a cost which did not add any value to the organisation.

“The pilot project results were not documented and there was no evidence of use of the pilot project in the implementation of the main project despite ZETDC investing $1 425 746,” read the report.

It was noted that ZETDC was not guaranteed that the lifespan of the prepaid meters would run for 15 years as per agreement after it failed to send inspectors to assess the gadgets during manufacturing stage before they were brought into the country, and that frequent meter failures were already being experienced.

“This also included site tests and approval of the product before shipment. More so the ZETDC did not perform accelerated life test to ascertain the behaviour of the meters when exposed to the network and weather conditions over the period of their lifespan,” said Mrs Chiri.

The audit noted that ZETDC accepted meters with wrong Supply Group Code and this prompted changes to default SGC by staff.

“For instance, a review of internal correspondence from the Technical Support Engineer to the Revenue Assurance Manager dated October 20 2015 revealed that in the year 2013 ZETDC received a batch of 5 000 meters from Itron South Africa which was destined for Eskom. The batch had erroneously been mixed up with the Zimbabwean consignment bearing the Itron default SGC 999901. Instead of returning the batch, the ZETDC accepted this and opted to generate SGC change tokens directly from ZETDC 3E vending system. Furthermore, the ZETDC did not identify the responsible personnel or department and the applicable procedure to handle the SGC change when it was necessary during the deployment of meters,” said Mrs Chiri.

“Receiving of meters with wrong SGC was caused by ZETDC’s failure to enforce the contractual requirement which stated that meters were supposed to be coded to ZETDC SGC. Inspection procedures for receiving meter batches failed to pick this anomaly from the batch.”

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  • BonzoReChihuta

    They must arrest Undenge…

  • God of War

    Heads must roll.

  • musa

    in short zesa is staffed with incompetent and/or derelict people

  • Symbol

    First it was wrong consignment destined for South Africa, then down the line lt was meters from Itron South Africa meant for Eskom. So where did Zesa purchase these meters from? Something is not right here.

  • Doctor Do little

    This normally happens when preplanned accepting of tenders takes place. Electrical goods should be subjected to thorough quality control before being used or purchased. This smacks of someone that bought the goods at a closing down sale.

  • zibulo

    People who were deployed as cadres at parastatals are not fools. They did what they were sent to do. Milk, milk , milk the parastatals of money, that is how ZANU and its officials became rich whilst there was economic upheaval in the country. And to think Chronicle/ZBC never knew of this would be a lie. They knew , it was covered up as the editors/staff wuld be reprimanded , its only a tip f the iceberg. Unfortunately, politicians will always protect those who were helpful before , either for the party or useful to them individually in securinng tenders. You think Ministers/commanders never had tenders? they did and do , through relatives , etc, hence the parastatals are like what they are’ asset-less , penniless. Moneys were let to come in through the appropriate ministry, and then the deployees would syphoin it out through various unauthorized ways, And what are the salaries of the ZESA people- i repeat- are there no better educated young people of this land raring to go and do something for their country by working for even half of the salaries earned now? how special are those there, who sets their salaries-they set their own salaries, like the City Councillors do. Bantu vukani and take back your parastatals and Councils, and eventually Govt. If youre afraid that the ZNA/ZRP/Black Boots kill, then we will not be free , the killings they did was to instill fear, they cant do that perpetually, the world has changed.

  • Mlambapheli

    Just last week the minister of transport admitted aquiring snow graders for use, now wrong meters….Ohhh my!! and guess what, heads will not roll, business as usual.

    • LoL

      Snowgraders, wrong meters and spot on heads will not roll goodness gracious what next is coming?!