Africa Moyo – Deputy Editor-in-Chief
Zesa Holdings’ power distribution arm, Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZETDC), must be supported by a significant tariff to retain knowledgeable staff and purchase vehicles to help remedy outages on time.
Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) board chairman Dr David Madzikanda said at the media engagement meeting in Harare on Friday.
Zesa has started the tariff review request process and has informed Zera, and is expected to engage the government as well.
“In short, Zesa is incapacitated due to the tariff level which is around USc7.5 when we are supposed to be above USc10 per unit,” Dr. Madzikanda said.
“So you can appreciate when they are incapable. What that means is that when there is a fault, you cannot be reactive.”
Dr Madzikanda, who worked for Zesa for 17 years, said during his time they were able to deal with faults even at midnight because the electric utility had vehicles and a workforce. considerably motivated work.
“But these days he (fault) has to wait a day if you’re lucky,” he said.
“It can wait a week, two weeks or never. Why? It’s because they are incapacitated, they don’t have vehicles, they don’t have competent personnel to start. Zesa does. not the ability to pay and maintain the caliber of staff they need. They don’t have any other materials either. I know I’m not painting a good picture, but basically we’re heading into a situation where we should to be able to support Zesa with a significant tariff to be able to achieve what we are talking about (universal access to electricity). “
Dr Madzikanda said it was better to have a properly set tariff versus a lower tariff that did not encourage investment in new factories and service vehicles because the costs of not having electricity ” are too appalling to contemplate “.
He said even driving towards Vision 2030 of an upper middle-income economy would be affected without a steady supply of electricity.
Zesa has since adopted a premium rate where heavy users per month are punished with a higher rate, while less powerful users pay less.
Zera CEO Mr Eddington Mazambani said: “Yes, they have written to us asking for a tariff review, but first they need to come to an agreement with the Ministry (of Energy and Development). electricity).”
Once the ministry responds to Zesa’s request, Zera then engages consumers such as government, mining, agricultural, commercial and domestic industries to get their point of view and act accordingly.
In the past, consumers have rejected requests for increased electricity tariffs, claiming that Zesa was extremely heavy and even if the tariff was granted, few resources would be allocated to operations as more funds were needed to finance the huge salaries. alleged employees and support their lavish lifestyles.
In addition, some experts have argued that it is essential for Zesa to address electricity losses during transmission, which were estimated at 16% of all electricity produced in 2016.
In 2014, Zera’s board of directors rejected a tariff review request from Zesa, claiming that the tariff level obtained was sufficient to cover ZETDC’s costs.
In addition, the Zera Board of Directors stated that ZETDC needs to improve debt collection and increase its efficiency in order to reduce costs.