Zimbabwe hikes power price by 31%

2011-08-27 09:10

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Harare - Zimbabweans will have to pay 31% more for electricity after regulators approved a rate hike by the state power distributor in a bid to cut black-outs and improve efficiency, state media said Friday.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Commission (ZERC) increased rates from 7.53 US cents to 9.83 US cents per kilowatt hour to help the regulator fund an expansion programme that will boost electricity production, The Herald newspaper reported.

ZERC administrator Peter Mufunda said the decision, which will take effect next week, was green-lighted by a parliamentary committee and President Robert Mugabe's cabinet.

"In the determination of the electricity tariffs levels, the Commission noted the improvements in the economy over the period 2009 to date, local tariffs compared to regional tariffs levels, the state of local electricity supply infrastructure, as well as revenue requirements of the utilities," he said.

Mufunda said the rest of southern Africa pays between 13 US cents and 14 US cents per kilowatt hour.

The Zimbabwean economy has largely stabilised under a power-sharing government formed by Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in 2009, after a violent and disputed election sent the economy into a hyperinflation-driven tailspin.

But the country still battles to produce enough electricity, resulting in massive power cuts lasting up to 10 hours in some cases.

The country requires 2,200 megawatts per month but is producing just 1 300, topping up with imports from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Earlier this month the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) announced it would hand out more than 5.5 million power-saving fluorescent light bulbs to its consumers in a bid to curb consumption.

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