The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has defended its decision to increase electricity tariffs by 31%, saying this was overdue as their tariffs were sub-economic.
Speaking at a Press conference on Friday in Harare, Zesa chief executive officer Josh Chifamba said this was the right time to have the tariff hike although it had received mixed feelings from the public, but said it was only going to benefit the public.
Chifamba also said they last increased tariffs in March 2009 adding that it was unappreciative for the public not to accept the hike.
“Our tariffs were low. We were way below our costs. They were clearly sub-economic and it had become costly for the parastatal,” said Chifamba.
“We increased by 7,5% (in 2009), it was something to go by and the hope was that in 2010 we would increase but failed.”
Chifamba went on to justify the increase.
“The price of coal moved from $17 per tonne to $30 per tonne while diesel went up from 90 cents per litre to $1,32 per litre,” said the Zesa boss.
Chifamba said they were aware of the national outcry emanating from the increase, but maintained that their hands were tied.
He said consumers of electricity, who include government, mining, industry and domestic sectors, owed them a combined total of a whopping $449 million.
The tariff increases have seen a huge national outcry, with the people saying they were unjustified especially in view of the incessant power cuts the nation has faced in recent years.