DOMESTIC electricity consumers who use more than 50 KWh of electricity every month will be required to pay more for the extra units as Zesa has implemented a lifeline tariff rate to cushion the less privileged electricity users.
The system is designed to prevent wastage of power and encourage consumers to purchase electricity once every month.
A consumer, who comes for a second purchase of electricity within the same calendar month, loses the lifeline tariff benefit and is charged $48 for 120KWh instead of $48 for 200KWh under the benefit scheme.
In a statement, Zesa Public Relations Manager Mr Fullard Gwasira said the lifeline tariffs are afforded to customers every month during the first purchase of the electricity units.
"In every calendar month, customers are afforded a lifeline tariff rate of $0,06 ($6,00) for the first 50 kWh, which is enough electricity to power a two plate stove and five lights for a calendar month for a single household with the next 150kWh ( 51 to 200kwh) in the same calendar month being charged at $0,30 ($30,00). The first 250kWh Units are enough for the majority of most domestic households. Any additional purchases in excess of 200kWh within the same calendar month, is thus charged at a higher rate of $0,40 ($40, 00)," he said.
"The power utility further advises that if the same customer comes for a second purchase within the same month using the same amount of money ( $48,00) he/she will receive 120kWh and not 200kWh as in the first purchase of that month.
The reduced amount of electricity in kWh is due to the fact that the second purchase within the same calendar month is cumulative, and thus the customer would have exhausted the lifeline benefit for that particular month."
Mr Gwasira said the new prepayment electricity tariffs for domestic consumers seek to conserve electricity and are in line with the recently approved 2019 electricity tariffs.
Announcing the 2019 Mid-Year Budget earlier this month, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube approved an electricity tariff increase to assist Zesa to mobilise more resources to cover the supply gap.
The electricity tariff for domestic consumers was increased from an average of Z$9.86c/kWh to an average of $27c/kWh (approximately USc3/kWh), which is subsidised.
Mr Gwasira said the new prepayment tariff is designed to promote practices of conserving electricity by consumers given the current power supply situation. He said it also seeks to replace the flat rate tariff previously used for domestic customers that promoted wasteful use of electricity by heavy consumers.
"In line with the recently approved Electricity tariffs for 2019, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) would like to advise its valued customers that it has now started implementing the stepped prepayment tariff for domestic consumers to replace the flat rate tariff of 14ckWh, which was previously in use for domestic customers," said Mr Gwasira.
"The flat rate tariff afforded customers of electricity a standard tariff for purchases despite the kWh purchased and the number of times customers bought electricity in the same month, and was thus wasteful and expensive for low poor users.
"The stepped domestic electricity tariff encourages consumers to use electricity more sparingly and efficiently, and rewards them with a lower tariff, with heavy domestic power users having to pay more for higher consumption. Customers are thus advised to buy electricity units that are sufficient for their monthly consumption, any excess units will be charged at the higher tariff."