COUNCILLORS on the Copperbelt yesterday took to task Zesco officials over the power firm’s decision to install prepaid meters on street lights.
The uncompromising civic leaders demanded to know from the Zesco officials what corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes the power utility was providing for the general public in view of its decision to install prepaid meters on street lights, which were serving members of the community.
This was during a stakeholders meeting organised by Zesco for councillors drawn from various districts on the Copperbelt held at Moba Hotel yesterday. Councillor Celisto Chomba, from Luanshya, was shocked by Zesco’s decision to install prepaid meters on street lights.
Mr Chomba attracted applause from his colleagues when he said Zesco was for Zambians and as such needed to identify itself with at least one CSR programme that helped to uplift the welfare of people in the communities the power utility operated from.
He said Zesco was being insincere over its decision to install prepaid meters on street lights and expected councils to start paying bills.
“Zesco is in the forefront of complaining about vandalism on its infrastructure and yet the company is reluctant to provide power for street lights which also serves as a security measure,” he said.
But Zesco Copperbelt acting division manager Matthews Phiri said the decision to install prepaid meters on street lights was based on the fact that the energy used needed to be paid for.
Mr Phiri said instead of crying foul, councils should focus on increasing its revenue collection base for it to pay the accrued bills.
He said councils countrywide were owed a lot of money in unpaid rates which when efficiently collected, should be able make them pay bills for street lights.
Meanwhile, Zesco principal economic business development manager Kachinga Phiri said the power utility had drastically cut down on load shedding.
He said most of the power outages currently being experienced were as a result of faults and not just load shedding, as was being portrayed by some sections of society.
Times of Zambia