Zesa to increase tariffs as power crisis continues

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By Audience Mutema

GOVERNMENT has given the green light to power utility, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) to increase its tariffs in the wake of crippling power outages brought by low generating capacity at Kariba coupled with lack of foreign currency to import more power.

This was revealed by Energy Minister Fortune Chasi in parliament Wednesday while responding to Kambuzuma legislator Willias Madzimure.

Madzimure had asked the Minister during question time on what government had in store for those who have defaulted on paying electricity bills.

“We are working on improving or increasing the tariffs,” Chasi said.

“There must be a serious relationship between generational power and the rate at which people are charged.

“We want to increase the number of people on pre-paid power to look at exactly how much is owed to ZESA. We are not at the point where the majority of our consumers are on pre-paid meters.”

A day before, Chasi told a post-cabinet media briefing some hotels in Victoria Falls shall be compelled to settle their electricity bills in foreign currency.

Norton MP Temba Mliswa on Wednesday asked the Minister if this was not in violation of Statutory Instrument 142/2019 which outlawed the use of foreign currency in local transactions.

Mliswa also asked the Minister if government had plans to allow those who want to pay in foreign currency to come forward in the wake of a blanket ban by government on foreign currency use in domestic expenditure.

“The law has for quite some time provided options to ZESA to agree for a specific currency. We will continue to look at other consumers sometimes on a cash by cash basis especially exporters so that they bring power to themselves.”