This is getting a little trite to be honest. Every month-end or first day of the next month the ZESA token system and usually their online calculator as well-goes down. According to Minister Fortune Chasi’s remarks on the issue in the past, the downtime is a result of the system being overwhelmed resulting in it being brought to its knees as thousands of Zimbabwean households try to buy electricity tokens.

Part of the reason for the deluge is because there is a persistent myth that says ZESA tokens are cheaper on the first day(s) of each month. The reason why this myth has survived for so long is that there is a grain of truth in it. ZESA sells the first 300 units a customer buys during each month at a subsidised rate. Because the first day of each month is a new month electricity tokens tend to be cheaper on the first day as customers are technically buying their first units for that month. However, the truth is as long as you are buying the first units for your meter they will be cheaper whether you buy those units on the first day of the month or on the 29th of that month! It’s a subtle point that the bulk of the public has failed to grasp.

Bulawayo Vendors capitalise

This weekend just like any other first few, days of the month, the ZESA online token system was crashed into smithereens by surging demand resulting in people failing to buy tokens. Sensing an opportunity, Bulawayo’s ZESA street vendors started to sell electricity tokens at a premium. According to the state owned Chronicle, vendors were demanding as much as 30% premium on top of what customers wanted to buy.