Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a subsidiary of Zesa Holdings, has applied for another tariff increase to cushion it from rising costs of raw materials such as coal, diesel and water following a tariff increase in August.
The parastatal revealed that it was also looking into the issue of fixed charge consumers who continue paying the full monthly tariff when they hardly ever have electricity during the day.
In an interview yesterday, Zesa spokesperson Mr Fullard Gwasira said the power utility had filed its application with the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA).
He dismissed reports that tariffs have been hiked and said they had only applied to ZERA for an upward review of tariffs.
Mr Gwasira said the statement circulating on social media platforms purporting that tariffs had been increased with immediate effect had been taken out of context.
“I can confirm that the statement is from us, however it was an application to our regulators. We are awaiting approval and I will be in a position to talk about figures once our proposal has been approved,” said Mr Gwasira.
He said viability and service delivery had been severely compromised with local electricity production negatively impacted by the low water levels in Lake Kariba, which he said had restricted power production.
“The tariff applied for will enable ZETDC to raise the required working capital for the improvement of among other things, local electricity generation, procurement of critical spares as well as electricity imports,” he said.
Mr Gwasira however said a tariff increase was likely to have a positive effect on the duration of load shedding, which has plagued consumers on the national grid since May.
“We understand the prevailing hardships at the moment. However, we want to assure consumers that a tariff increase will increase the ability of the power company to procure necessary materials to function properly and deliver uninterrupted services for better power generation. In the long run, a power increase will lead to shorter load shedding hours and subsequently the scrapping or suspension of the load shedding programme. A lot of money is needed for the service to be availed,” said Mr Gwasira.
Asked what the power company was doing on the plight of consumers on the fixed charge plan Mr Gwasira said the organisation was looking into the matter.
“Each case will be dealt with on merit, we are looking into it and figuring out the best way to address such cases,” he said.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube in his 2019 mid-year budget review statement and supplementary budget said the electricity tariff for non-exporting businesses would be increased from an average of US9,86 cents/kWh to an average of US45c/kWh.
In August, the electricity tariff for domestic consumers was increased from an average of US9,86c/kWh to an average of US27c/kWh, while for agriculture consumers, it was increased from an average of US9,86c/kWh to an average of US27c/kWh. — @andile_tshuma