Zimbabwe power utility seeks tariff increase to stay afloat

Zimbabwe power utility ZESA Holdings wants to raise its electricity tariffs at least three-fold, saying the current tariffs are now sub-economic.

The utility last increased tariffs in February by 19 percent.

Acting managing director for the utility’s subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), Lovemore Chinaka, on Thursday told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development that a tariff increase would enable the firm to maintain the grid, the Herald newspaper reported Friday.

He said the existing rate, approximately 2.3 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), is way lower than the 10 U.S. cents per kWh that would allow the power utility to break even.

“The long-term impact would be that we will be unable to fix the grid from a maintenance point if we have natural failures of transformers or lines that are down due to age,” Chinaka said. “You find that our capacity to respond quickly has been eroded.”

He also said that the power utility has failed to supply electricity to 75,000 households in the past five years due to rampant vandalism and thefts of distribution equipment.

In 2017, ZESA recorded 736 cases of thefts and vandalism. The number of such cases rose to 766 in 2018 and 1,178 in 2019. As of July this year, 498 cases had been recorded.

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