The country’s power utility, ZESA, owes regional power suppliers US$80 million in arrears from previous imports.
This was revealed by ZESA spokesperson Fullard Gwasira in emailed responses to The Herald.
Gwasira said that the interim solution to the country’s electricity crisis is demand-side management, which in essence calls for consumers to use electricity sparingly. He said:
(We are introducing) demand side management (DSM) initiatives where customers are urged and encouraged to use electricity sparingly in order to release additional capacity to other needy areas and; mobilisation of resources to clear the US$80 arrears that ZESA owes to regional supplies (Eskom of South Africa and HCB of Mozambique) in order to unlock capacity for increased imports.
As a result of the outstanding payment, the two countries Mozambique and South Africa have reduced exports from their respective utilities to 50MW and 100MW until their arrears have been cleared.
Gwasira also stated that ZESA has not increased electricity tariffs since 2011 and currently sells electricity at an average price of RTGS$9,86c per kilowatt hour (kWh), which used to be US$9,86c/kWh before the Monetary Policy Statement of February 20.
This means that consumers are a now paying almost three times less than the previous value in light of the introduction of RTGS dollars in February.
ZESA expects the electricity situation to improve if the country experiences a good rainfall season which will raise the level of Kariba Dam.