Deadlock In ZESA, Captains Of Industry Power Tariff Talks
ZESA Holdings has refused to budge on its position on power billing in US dollars despite calls by captains of industry for more flexibility.
Officials from ZESA Holdings’ subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), and captains of industry met a fortnight ago over the issue but the meeting ended in a deadlock after the power utility rejected proposals that were made by industry.
The captains of industry had proposed to have the US dollar bills matched to the proportion of forex sales and this was rejected by ZETDC.
Speaking to Business Times, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Kurai Matsheza the new tariff announced by ZESA is unsustainable.
ZESA announced power tariffs of US12.21c/kWh for all exporters with other forex earners paying US10.63c/kWh.
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Matsheza said that they are now seeking the intervention of Energy and Power Development Minister, Zhemu Soda. He said:
The business community carried out discussions with ZETDC but no agreement was reached hence we have now requested a meeting with the Energy Minister himself.
So far we haven’t gotten a response on his availability but we wanted to discuss the blanket US$ billing, electricity availability, how the power situation can be addressed, and the bill on forex generation capacity.
Previously, most customers paid in Zimbabwe dollars, under a stepped billing system where users paid tariffs in line with the amount of electricity used.
Only a few exporters or partial exporters, including miners, paid for electricity in forex. Said Matsheza:
ZETDC told us the billing in US$ for exporting companies and those who are generating US$ through local sales should pay 100% in forex.
We raised an issue to say these blanket groupings may not be ideal.
Whilst we understand the need to raise US$, why didn’t they look at the individual customer and say to what extent do you generate US$ sales and bill accordingly?
Zimbabwe is facing acute electricity shortages that have resulted in blackouts lasting 18 hours a day for millions of citizens.
The power cuts are being caused by low water levels that have reduced generation from a hydropower plant on Lake Kariba as well as frequent breakdowns at the Hwange Thermal Power Station.
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