Electricity tariffs increased again

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STAFF WRITER  

THE Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a subsidiary of Zesa Holdings (Zesa), has increased electricity tariffs by 50 percent, making the cumulative increase 100 percent inside two weeks.

The first 50 kilowatts of power shot up from $0.74 to $1.19 making it $59.50, while the subsequent 150 KW will now cost $387, bringing the total cost of the first 200 KW to $446, 50.
At the end of last month, ZETDC also increased power tariffs by 50 percent.
This comes as the country has lately been experiencing intermittent power cuts due to breakdowns at the creaky Hwange and Kariba power plants.
It also comes as one of Zimbabwe’s main sources of power, Eskom of South Africa, is experiencing major shortages of its own — to the consternation of both ordinary consumers and industries in the neighbouring country.
Deputy Energy and Power Development minister Magna Mudyiwa told Parliament this week that Zesa now owed nearly US$90 million to power utilities Eskom and Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) of Mozambique.
“I am sure you are aware that we have often relied on imports from Eskom and from Cahora Bassa and EDM of Mozambique.
“Now the challenge that we were experiencing is that we are still getting the imports, but the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company have been failing to service their debts with EDM and HCB.
“We are trying to be up to date with Eskom as much as we can, but because of the low tariffs that we were having since March up to now, which were not cost reflective, the utility has accrued quite a huge debt, almost US$90 million that should be paid,” Mudyiwa said, while responding to a question from Harare East MP Tendai Biti.
This comes as Zesa is angling for a viable tariff regime which it argues would enable it to pay for its power needs, without running the risk of being cut off by its suppliers.
Zesa has claimed that so low are the current tariffs that “it was now cheaper to use electricity than firewood and liquid gas”.
In January this year, the government announced plans to clear its arrears with Mozambique and South Africa — after securing a US$100 million facility from Afreximbank and reviving a 30-year tri-lateral agreement with the two neighbouring countries as part of short-term solutions to stabilise local power supplies.
The tri-lateral agreement that was first signed in 1990 allows Zimbabwe to negotiate for “firm and competitively priced” electricity from HCB and Eskom.

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