POWER utility Zesa yesterday conducted a blitz and disconnected over 100 illegally connected households in Stoneridge, Harare.
Zesa has been losing electricity worth thousands of dollars to unscrupulous individuals who illegally connect to powerlines.
The power utility roped in the police in an operation that unearthed numerous cases of meter bypassing, dangerous and unsafe wiring, unsanctioned connections and subletting of power, among others.
Zesa had contracted a local company, Ethood Electrical Engineering to construct the powerline and do the wiring before residents engaged unregistered individuals to illegally connect them.
Residents who spoke to NewsDay said they were swindled by former Ethood Electrical Engineering employee Peni Jaison who, after being fired, came during the COVID-19 lockdown and illegally connected them for a fee.
“We paid a lot of money to Jaison thinking he was representing his company. We now realise we have been duped.The cable he used on wiring is not the one recommended by Zesa and there was no inspection done. We are only asking the authority to help us regularise this since we are not working due to COVID-19 lockdown,” James Mandava, a resident, said.
Ethood Electrical Engineering representative Nelvin Gwishiri said they engaged the police and the Zesa loss control team after noticing unsafe wiring and illegal connections on the electricity poles.
“We have engaged the police and Zesa loss control team after noting some illegal and unsafe wiring on our poles. We have since opened a docket for Jaison under RRB4443036 at Mbudzi Roundabout Police Base whom we suspect had connected them,”Gwishiri said.
In a statement last month, the power utility said some individuals were stealing electricity through illegal connections and meter bypasses, hence the decision to embark on the blitz.
Illegal power connections attract a jail sentence of between 10 and 30 years.
“ZETDC would like to advise that those caught stealing power through illegal connections and bypassing of meters will be disconnected with the prejudice to the power utility being recovered. Criminal charges may also be levelled against those stealing power with the possibility of a jail sentence of 10 to 30 years,” the statement read.
“ZETDC would like to advise that all suspicious points including bypasses that are flagged by the internal information technology systems are going to be netted and disconnected.”