TANZANIA Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO) has declared a door-to-door operation to collect overdue debts from public and private customers who use conventional metres.
TANESCO released a public notice yesterday informing the public that they had contracted Yono Auction Mart to begin collecting debts in Ilala, Arusha, and Kilimanjaro regions in the first phase.
According to the notice, the exercise is continuous and will be conducted in phases, in which the next one will be in Coast Region, Kinondoni North, Temeke, Manyara, Tanga, Geita, Kagera, Mara, Mwanza, Simiyu, Iringa, Mbeya, Songwe, Njombe, Dodoma, Morogoro and Singida in a period of one year.
Customers were asked to cooperate with the contracted company, which would have an introduction letter from TANESCO and all client information during the operation.
The power utility’s Acting Customer Relations Officer, Martin Mwambene, told ‘Sunday News’ in a telephone interview yesterday that they had contracted the private firm which started collecting debts from Friday this week.
“We introduced Luku metres which operate on a prepayment system to avoid conflict over power consumption invoices, in this exercise we target individuals, companies, organisations and industries that still use conventional meters,” he clarified.
On 25 April this year, Deputy Minister for Energy, Stephen Byabato told the National Assembly that the government through TANESCO has contracted two private firms that will soon start collecting 244bn/- that the public and private customers owe state-owned power utility firm in accumulated debts.
He said that the outstanding debts had been accumulated for a long time and that in public entities, TANESCO was supposed to collect about 86bn/- and that already his ministry had written to the treasury to demand that the debts be cleared amicably.
However, when responding to Members of Parliament questions, he said that the court redress was not an option save for those who were reluctant to pay after being served with debt invoices.
“In preventing the debt from ballooning and putting up measures for debt collection, the government has always been allocating enough funds for electricity services to avoid accumulating debts,” he said.
According to Mr Byabato, TANESCO had put up debt collection strategies and prevented new debts by putting up LUKU Metres and making up close follow-ups on debts as well as cutting-off power to customers with huge debts until they clear their dues.
As per State Owned Enterprise (SOEs) domestic debt report released on 15 June this year, TANESCO has made progress in repaying after its debt decreased to 4.83bn/-, accounting for 16.2 per cent of total debt in April this year compared with lower than 5.56bn/- or 18.2 per cent recorded in March this year.