Zimbabwe’s state-owned utility ZESA Holdings continues its roll-out of prepaid meters amid efforts to shore up its revenue protection.

ZESA Holdings has installed more than 400,000 prepaid meters in residential and small-scale commercial buildings and plans to hit its target of 500,000 by March 2014, said spokesman Fullard Gwasira.

This completes the first phase of a project to install 800,000 meters under the southern African country’s new economic blueprint – Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Economic Transformation.

The utility set up a revenue protection unit after incidents of meter tampering, a standard procedure in all countries with prepaid meters.

The unit has since identified 76 consumers who had interfered with their meters, resulting in the recovery of revenue of more than US$145,000.

ZESA has also seen its revenue increase by US$15-20 million a month to US$60 million due to the work of the revenue protection unit.

Mr Gwasira said: “The issue of revenue protection is very central to the operations of the business.

Consequently, the utility is constantly reviewing business operation systems with a view towards identifying revenue leakages.”

By November 2013, ZESA was owed more than US$800 million by industrial and domestic customers.

This came as the country was facing power shortages as it is only generating about 1,200 MW against peak demand of 2, 200MW.