Zimbabwe power utility approves payment of bills in U.S. dollars

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article

Zimbabwe’s cash-strapped utility Zesa Holdings Ltd. is allowing people to pay their bills in foreign currency as it struggles to fund the nation’s power imports.

Zesa said in an emailed statement on Sunday that the decision would bring consumers more "convenience". Previously, only miners and exporters were allowed to pay for power supplies in U.S. dollars and other foreign currencies.

The southern African country generates less than half of its own electricity and relies on imports from South Africa and Mozambique for the rest. Local production has been hit by a drought that shuttered the nation’s main hydropower plant and by frequent breakdowns at its coal-fired Hwange facility.

The government has gradually opened more of the struggling economy to foreign transactions since the start of a virus lockdown in March, backtracking on an earlier decision to make the Zimbabwe dollar the sole legal tender. Citizens can now use U.S. dollars for food shopping, fuel, toll fees and passports.

The move has undermined demand for the Zimbabwe dollar, sending its value slumping and it now trades at 81.73 to the U.S. dollar.

The utility said the exchange rate from a weekly foreign auction system would be used to settle consumers’ electricity bills.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
14.75
-1.0%
Rand - Pound
20.26
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
17.29
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.72
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.0%
Gold
1,754.62
0.0%
Silver
22.41
0.0%
Palladium
2,019.00
0.0%
Platinum
944.00
0.0%
Brent Crude
75.34
-0.4%
Top 40
56,605
-0.9%
All Share
62,864
-0.7%
Resource 10
56,497
-3.9%
Industrial 25
81,170
+1.0%
Financial 15
14,018
+0.5%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
What potential restrictions on unvaccinated South Africans may make the biggest difference to public health, the economy?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Limited access to restaurants and bars
9% - 43 votes
Limited access to shopping centres
17% - 85 votes
Limited access to live events, including sport matches and festivals
28% - 140 votes
Workplace vaccine mandates
46% - 228 votes
Vote