By Joyce Mukucha
The Office of the Provincial Development Coordinator for Harare Metropolitan Province in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC) has noted with concern the recent unwarranted power outages being caused by overgrown trees and illegal settlements.
Following this, residents have been urged to trim trees and remove building structures that are damaging powerlines and have been warned that failure to do so will result in the property owner being charged a hefty penalty by ZETDC.
In a statement yesterday, the Office of the Provincial Development Coordinator for Harare Metropolitan Province, Tafadzwa Muguti said,”We would like to announce that with immediate effect all residents are to ensure that they trim or cut trees that have overgrown and are now posing a risk to powerlines.
“In recent weeks, many trees have fallen on power lines causing unwarranted power outages. ln particular, Harare Northern Suburbs are the most non-compliant as many homeowners are refusing to cut trees and also refusing ZETDC engineers to gain access to their properties, whilst illegal settlements across all Districts are building structures along power servitudes,” said Muguti.
In terms of Section 39 of the Electricity Act, he said, trees, buildings, or any structures are not permitted anywhere near the powerlines.
“Trees in particular and any overhanging branches are not permitted within 4,5 meters from any 11-kV line.
“To ensure full compliance by all residents, kindly note that from the 16th of February 2O21, failure to cut trees or building structures which eventually damage powerlines will result in the property owner being charged a hefty penalty by ZETDC.”
He indicated that the property owner will now be responsible for the full costs of repairs, labour, and fuel costs incurred by ZETDC in repairing the powerline in the property and any other damages caused to ZETDC infrastructure.
“All costs shall be allocated to that property’s electricity account as a penalty for negligence. We, therefore, plead with all Harare Metropolitan Province residents and businesses to cooperate fully with ZETDC to avoid penalties and most importantly inconveniencing others with unwarranted power cuts that can be avoided.”
Muguti also urged all local authorities to cut trees that have overgrown and clear all illegal structures in power servitudes as guided by the Provisions of Development Control.