HARARE, February 6 (The Source) – Internet service provider Powertel, a Zesa subsidiary, has been appointed as the sole aggregator for the sale of prepaid electricity tokens after the State Procurement Board (SPB) twice cancelled the tender citing technical irregularities.
The appointment has riled some of the 37 companies that had tendered for the role and have approached government seeking to have the process re-tendered.
The tender was initially advertised in August, 2012 but was cancelled before the closing date of submission. It was then re-issued last September, but the SPB announced the cancellation on January 2 this year while the Ministry of Energy and Power Development appointed Powertel soon after.
Alarm was raised over the participation in the tender of Revma, which was also part of the adjudicators.
Powertel had also applied for the tender, and its award means that it will handle the pre-paid electricity tokens for the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), another Zesa subsidiary.
The new aggregator is expected to roll out a new vending ecosystem by the end of February this year, replacing a pilot project between the power utility and retail chain, OK Zimbabwe.
Sources close to the developments said other companies that may want to be vendors of the prepaid tokens would require approval from the energy minister, Dzikamai Mavhaire.
Mavhaire referred questions on the matter to Zesa, whose spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said he was not in a position to comment.
Zesa started rolling out pre-paid metres two years ago in a bid to boost revenue inflows following a high default rate by postpaid electricity users.
As of November last year, it was owed $818.1 million by electricity consumers.
It has already installed nearly 350,000 prepaid units against a target of 800,000.