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ZESA Tariffs Could Be Going Up By 30%, This Time The Viral WhatsApp Message Could Be Half True

Man topping up electricity

There is a WhatsApp message that is doing the rounds:

Electricity prices are going up by 150% fr prepaid metres whn buying in bond ecocash or swipe on friday
However prices remain the same whn using usd

So buy now in bond cz after friday kuyabe sokuyilahla

I got tht memo tody at a workshop i was attending at work.
Please share with others as well.

The message says 150% increase and that made us question the truth of it. ZESA would never attempt to pull such a stunt at a time like this.

However, the Newsday reports that that the utility is considering a 30% increase in tariffs. In an interview the ZETDC Commercial Services Manager, Richard Mariwa said:

Basically, what we are looking at is that we need to look at the implications of the monetary policy before we can then put scenarios. Right now, we are still discussing with the relevant authorities to find out the implications of the monetary policy on the tariffs.

… It is not cost reflective. But, be that as it may, we need to find out what are the fundamentals that need to be considered, moving forward. If you look at it to bring it back to the same (tariff level before the 2019 monetary policy in terms of USD) or something nearer to that you are talking about the 25% to 30% range.

Right now, the outlook for 2019 is not that good, in the sense that we are having challenges being able to provide quality supply due to the level of vandalism that is ongoing.

But Governor Mangudya said…

When John Mangudya presented his recent monetary policy statement which introduced a floating rate between what we thought were (or deposited as) US dollars in our accounts and the US dollar, he said this would not happen. Mangudya said there was no need for anyone to raise prices to reflect the exchange rate and that his bank had secured resources to cushion against that.

How now? The fact of the matter is, prices are unsustainable as it is. Talk to mobile network operators and they will tell you they are biting their fingers waiting for authorisation to increase tariffs too.

Will ZESA do it?

The government is struggling to contain inflation and they will resist price increase in a commodity with multiplier cost implications like electricity. The longer they keep insisting ZESA should maintain pricing the more ZESA will keep dying and keep switching off. Market distortions usually cost more.

Then again the government wasn’t scared to increase the price of petrol and diesel threefold. Maybe they will look to the side and let this happen or they will ask the president to announce it on a Friday night just before midnight too…

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