Auxilia Katongomara, Business Reporter
ZESA has installed more than 570 000 prepaid meters since the inception of the programme but about 6 000 of the gadgets having failed to meet acceptable industrial standards.
The power utility intends to replace all the faulty meters.
Responding to questions in Parliament on Wednesday, Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge said:
“To date 575 667, have been deployed. Failure rate has been within acceptable industrial standards except meters supplied by ZTE that exhibited high failure rate.
“ZTE contract was cancelled as a result of high failure rate. Total number of metres that failed to date is around 6 000 which translates to one percent of the installed base.”
He said due to the meters’ shortage, it had taken long to replace some of the gadgets failing at site but there was a plan to replace all faulty metres as soon as the next delivery is received to replace those failing within the warranty period.
“Warranty period was extended to 36 months from the standard 12 months at ZETDC’s request.
“Manufacturers have also offered meters at no additional cost to replace those failing at site after expiry of warranty,” said Dr Undenge.
“Most of the failures are to do with exposure to harsh environmental conditions, especially rain.
“ZETDC has improved the technical specification to ensure meters are higher Ingress Protection rating and hence more resistant to harsh environmental conditions.”
Zesa has said under the second phase of the prepaid metering system, they would instal smart meters which are more intelligent and highly sensitive to tampering compared to the conventional billing arrangement.
Under the Government’s economic blue-print, Zim-Asset, the power utility is targeting to instal 800 000 prepaid meters by 2018.