Vandalism, theft cost Zesco K5m annually

ELECTRICITY supply company, Zesco     Limited, spends over K5 million annually to replace vandalised and stolen installations.
In an interview on Tuesday, Zesco spokesperson Henry Kapata said the cases mainly involve theft of cables and transformer oil.
“Colossal sums of money on average over K5 million is spent to replace Zesco property that has either been stolen or tempered with,” he said.
Mr Kapata said last year, Copperbelt Province recorded the highest number of thefts of cables while Lusaka Province was the highest in cases of transformer oil thefts.
“Vandalism has greatly contributed to load shedding. When oil is stolen from a transformer, there will be a black-out and over 200 households will be in the dark,” he said.
Mr Kapata also said thefts delay Zesco’s operations, saying instead of taking three months to connect a household, it could take a year to replace stolen property.
“With the creation of new districts, the demand for power is very high. Zesco is under pressure to connect 200 households per day with a backlog of 20,000 applicants waiting to be connected,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Kapata said Zesco has put a number of measures in place to curb vandalism and theft.
“We have pumped in a lot of money in sensitisation programmes and we are conducting road shows throughout the country to inform people on the dangers of  vandalising Zesco property,” Mr Kapata said.
Mr Kapata said Zesco is also working with the Zambia Police Service to arrest vandals.
“We are also engaging scrap metal dealers because scrap metal dealers are perceived to be the ones who buy the stolen Zesco cables.
Last year, 36 people were arrested and 27 were convicted.

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