ZESCO says investigations have revealed that most houses that have been gutted have been due to the type of wiring used.
Director of distribution and customer service Muntungwa Mugala revealed that ZESCO is working with the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS), the Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ) and the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) to come up with accreditation of people that are going to be doing wiring on a professional level.
“What is happening at the moment is a situation where people don’t know who is a true qualified electrician or not,” said Mr. Mugala.
He said ZESCO may soon demand certification of whoever did the wiring before processing the application for power installation.
Mr. Mugala appealed to customers to be notifying ZESCO whenever they changed use from residential to commercial and that they should not wait for the utility company to discover them.
“As long as you use electricity for the purpose of commercial then you qualify for a commercial tariff because a residential is purely for domestic use; so immediately there is any change of use for a particular installation then that prompts us to change you from residential to commercial tariff,” said Mr. Mugala.
Mr. Mugala said the customer base of ZESCO has increased to 780,000 and that there was a backlog of 25,000 customers which has been reduced to less than 15,000 customers in the past six months.
“We are confident that before the end of this year, we should be able to be current in terms of the backlog,” he said.
Mr. Mugala said that ZESCO was facing challenges of aged infrastructure and insufficient capacity on the distribution network but that the power utility company has undertaken a number of projects on distribution to a tune of US$600 million.
He said this was being done countrywide to increase the capacity of the sub stations and distribution networks as well as replace aged infrastructure.
Mr. Mugala also warned those manipulating the ZESCO prepaid system, saying the company has intensified the inspection of its installations to mitigate criminal tampering of equipment.