Allow me to share the following thoughts in view of the storm raised by Bill 10.
How about introducing a law that empowers the citizenry or consumers to hold Utility Service Providers accountable?
This time it’s ZESCO. Next it could be a communication service provider, a water utility firm, a television service provider or a mobile service provider et cetera.
What if Bill 10 could deliberate on and include this issue which borders on consumers rights and not on political power?
At present, ZESCO seems to be an authority on its own. There’s no way we can continue enduring 18 hours of load shedding on a daily basis with the power being restored about 2300hrs and disconnected as early as 0530hrs.
With a certain number of verifiable appellants obtained either online or other, a Service Provider will be given chance to either attend to the consumers needs or face heavy penalties including loss of employment for top management, revocation of or suspending of an operating license for long periods or other deterrent measures.
That to be accompanied by a clause dictating that such matters will be heard and disposed of as a matter national emergency within say 14 working days by the Consumer Protection Unit or Judiciary.
If this is not done, we shall continue to have the likes of carefree service provision as exemplified by ZESCO. At present, ZESCO seems to be an authority on its own. There’s no way we can continue enduring 18 hours of load shedding on a daily basis with the power being restored about 2300hrs and disconnected as early as 0530hrs. The 5 to 6 hours window during which power is available is ill timed as most people will be sleeping. Let this be the last time we are allowing ourselves to be treated so unfairly.
We should consider taking certain powers to the served. This will force Service Providers to improve on delivery. Our legislators should focus on delivering on these essentials than simply worrying about ministers working during elections, government having power to suprintend over BOZ regarding printing of Kwacha, forming a coalition government with an unpopular party etc. These might be important but they should not cause us to lose sight of the other cardinal aspects of our daily lives like power or energy.
Seize the opportunity rendered by Bill 10. Or may this mark the beginning of this debate.
By Chalusa EM
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