Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zesa justifies tariff hike

Zesa justifies tariff hike

By Everson Mushava, Staff Writer
Sunday, 04 September 2011 16:24

HARARE – Zesa holdings says its operations will be severely crippled to the 
extent of a gradual shutdown if it is forced to reverse the new tariff 

The power utility said the new rates were the only way it could sustain its 

Addressing a press conference in Harare yesterday, Zesa chief executive 
officer Josh Chifamba said the power utility’s infrastructure had collapsed 
and with “sub-economic” tariffs, Zesa risked a gradual shutdown.

He said Zesa needed to do a lot of maintenance work on its infrastructure 
saying if that is not done, the power supply situation in the country will 
further worsen.

“If we do not do anything to improve the supply of electricity now, we will 
not be able to respond to the user demand in the near future as industry 

“The cost of doing nothing means people will have to go back to the use of 

“We are bold enough to tell Zimbabwe that we had to increase the tariffs to 
improve the supply of energy in the near future.”

“If nothing is done now, there will be more loses to the economy due to loss 
of revenue when there is no electricity,” said Chifamba.

Zesa introduced a 31 percent increase on tariffs which came into effect at 
the beginning of this month.

The increase has so far faced resistance across the body with civic groups 
and business organisations threatening to mobilise a massive boycott of rate 
payments until the decision is reversed.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) and the civic society groups 
led by the Combined Harare Residents Trust (CHRA) have also threatened to 
take on Zesa to force a rethink on tariffs.

The groups argue that Zesa’s rate hike was unjustifiable given its poor 
service record, which has seen many households and industries around the 
country spending considerable time in the dark.

The Minister of Energy and Power Development, Elton Mangoma has since 
defended the new rates saying they were approved by Cabinet and are 
necessary to finance infrastructural development.

Chifamba said even if Zesa was to be dragged to court that will not help 
because the only way to find a permanent solution to the crisis was to 
effect sustainable rates.

The power utility boss said the country needed 2 100 megawatts per day but 
was currently producing 1 300 megawatts, 600 megawatts short of the required 

He said he hopes that the supply of electricity will improve after Zesa has 
completed refurbishment work at Hwange and Kariba power stations.

These two have a capacity to produce 600 and 300 megawatts respectively.

Chifamba said Zesa needed close to $2 billion to complete the refurbishments 
at the two power stations.

“We know the anger within the people over the new tariffs. We are aware of 
the pain but what do we do? We should also look at the long term gains,” he 

“There is a humane face in what we are doing. That is why we are 
distributing six million units of energy saving bulbs to households.”

Chifamba said the power utility will by the end of September install a more 
reliable billing system in Harare and Bulawayo and promised to cover the 
whole country by December 2011.

“By the end of this month, billing problems will be a thing of the past in 
Harare and Bulawayo,” he said.

Zesa is owed $449 million by consumers, government and business.

Of the $449 million, 46 percent was by household consumers, 10 percent by 
the government and over 30 percent by the industry.


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