HARARE-Zimbabwe has raised its average electricity tariff by 320 % to allow it to ramp up production and improve supplies amid the looming daily power cuts, the national energy regulator said on Wednesday according to Reuters.
Unprecedented power cuts in the landlocked nation lasting to 18 hours have hit mines, industry and homes and together with devastating drought are the main reasons why the economy is set to contract by up to 6% this year.
The power cuts will spark anger Zimbabwean citizens who have in the last week seen acute rises in fuel and basic goods prices. Stagnant wages prompted citizens to blame President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s policies for the worst economic crisis in a decade.
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) said it had approved an application by Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) to raise the tariff to 162.16 cents from 38.61 cents.
ZERA said the tariff rise was necessary after inflation soared – the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it was about 300% in August. Zimbabwe introduced an interim sovereign currency – the Real Time Gross Settlement dollar or Zimdollar – in February which quickly fell prey to black market speculation.
The new tariff would allow ZETDC to raise money to repair its generators, as well as pay for imports from South Africa’s Eskom and Mozambique which cost the US $19.5 million every month, the regulator said.
Hopes that Zimbabwe’s economy would quickly rebound under Mnangagwa, who took over after the late Robert Mugabe was deposed in a coup in November 2017, have faded fast as ordinary people grapple with soaring triple-digit inflation which has eroded