Zesa forced to reduce tariffs

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has finally bowed to pressure to reduce its tariffs following a directive by the Competition and Tariff Commission.

The power utility has confirmed the new tariff regime for customers on load-limiters would be reflected in their February bills.

In a letter addressed to lawyers representing the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (BPRA), Zesa Western Region general manager Lovemore Chinaka confirmed the power utility would implement the new tariff regime this month-end.

Part of the letter, dated February 14, 2011, read: “We anticipate that the individual customer accounts should have the credits before the end of February 2011.

“We will advise you as soon as the process of crediting customer accounts has been completed and also the amounts credited.”

Last year, Bulawayo residents led by BPRA demonstrated against Zesa for high bills even when load-shedding was rampant.

The residents reported the matter to the commission, which ordered Zesa to reduce its bills for load-limiter consumers.

Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma gave a thumbs-up to the order, urging the power utility to stop billing consumers during load-shedding periods.

A Zesa representative at the BPRA Ward 1 consultative meeting on rates, tariffs and billings held last Friday at the Small City Hall told residents Zesa would be reducing bills by 43% for load-limiters.

“This is because during load shedding people with load-limiters would be without electricity,” he said.

Meanwhile, commission chairman Dumisani Sibanda said they would continue monitoring the parastatal to ensure it complied with the order.

Said his organisation had launched a study to determine the impact of utility bills on the economy.

“We are doing a study on the distortions in the economy as a result of the utility bills. The study is in progress.

“A lot of people have complained that they cannot afford to pay the utilities. We have seen it fit therefore to institute a study on the distortions caused by the utilities and what it means,” he said.

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