Zimbabwe sharply hikes electricity tariff amid power shortages

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-09 22:17:57|Editor: xuxin
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HARARE, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe on Wednesday announced a four-fold increase in electricity tariff to boost revenue for more power generation and imports.

The sharp rise comes at a time when the country is grappling with severe power cuts which are affecting domestic, industrial and commercial consumers countrywide.

The country had for years enjoyed a low power tariff of 9.86 U.S. cents per kWh, which was further eroded to a low of 1.01 cents per kWh as of August this year.

This led the Zimbabwe Energy and Regulatory Authority (ZERA) to approve an application by the power utility to increase the tariff to 38.61 cents per kWh in August.

On Oct. 3 this year, ZERA again approved another power tariff increase to 162.16 cents per kWh to enable the power utility to ramp up power generation and increase imports which are currently gobbling 19.5 million U.S. dollars per month.

In a statement Wednesday, ZERA said it had increased the tariff after taking into account the long hours of load shedding lasting up to 18 hours per day, the high cost of alternative energy supplies and the further deterioration of the tariff against rising inflation.

It said starting in November, the power utility will be reviewing electricity tariffs on a monthly basis in line with changes in inflation and the exchange rate.

ZERA said the new tariff regime will, however, cushion domestic and agricultural consumers.

Zimbabwe is experiencing subdued power generation due to low water levels at Kariba Power Station and the frequent break down of Hwange Thermal Power Station.

This has forced the nation to rely on power imports from neighboring South Africa and Mozambique but the imports are not enough as the country is also facing foreign currency shortages which have seen it failing to service its debts.